Bill Gates had it right when he said: “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” So the town square is established now and the global village is scrambling to get their stalls up.
Digitally connected markets help businesses reach out quickly and efficiently to new or existing customers. According to the “Global Flows in a digital age” report by McKinsey Global Institute, one in every three goods is crossing national borders. The study focused on economies where goods, services, finance and people interact based on the data and communication infrastructure available. Digital and internet connections therefore determine increase in trade, and hence GDP growth.
A connected economy increases its GDP by up to 40% more than a less connected market. And countries and businesses are increasingly getting ready to take advantage of the benefits of a connected economy. In this blog, we discuss two of the most important benefits:
Equal Opportunity for women-owned businesses
Corey O’Loughlin, the owner of Prep Obsessed, grew her retail business almost solely on Facebook and Instagram and the business is now flourishing. She says: “We targeted preppy women who had similar tastes and values… and we had 1000 Facebook fans before we ever sold a product.” Now they have 100,000 Facebook followers and 90% of their sales is through Facebook.
According to the National Foundation of Women Business Owners, six in ten women business owners rely on the Internet for their marketing efforts. The book Momprenuers Online shows how “women can build an Internet-based, kid-friendly business in the comfort (or chaos) of their very own homes.”
The McKinsey report also confirms that the spread of digital and internet technologies has increased global online traffic 18-fold between 2005 and 2012. As a result, developing economies account for more than one-third of the global flow – three times more than in 1990. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor counted close to 224 million women operating a businesses, of which 98 million have an established business (operating successfully after 3-4 years).
How can women continue to take advantage of equal opportunity and greater reach that the connected market offers?
- Focus on differentiating your brand and your product offering, to beat competitors
- Stand out with an innovative strategy that addresses customer pain points
- Access crowd funding through portals like Kickstarter or microfinance platforms to finance your business for the next growth spurt
- Use technology and social media tirelessly to unearth the next lead, customer or vendor
- Join networking groups to keep informed about the changing trends in marketing, technology and business
Cognitive computing, location based marketing, social media, data assimilation through wearable technology, mobile media – the connected marketplace is surging ahead whether your business is ready for it or not. And the price you pay for not being connected is steadily getting steeper.