by Ridzwan Razalee
No matter which period of history we are living in, a business venture is always a risk. However, with the technology we have at our hands today, there is no better time than today to create your own business.
The mobile phone alone is more powerful than anything you could possess just 20 years ago. It has opened new doors for a world where anything is possible.
More and more Malaysians are growing the courage to embark on entrepreneurship and creative pursuits as a career choice, and technology has played a crucial role in that shift in the past ten years.
We’ve seen Malaysians building reputable tech companies and making it to the international stage with their craft; singing, writing, filmmaking, and even animation. There is no doubt that the country has always had many great talents and skilled individuals, but technology today has given them a new competitive edge.
Here are six ways how technology has enabled a new generation of entrepreneurs and creatives in Malaysia:
1) Changing old business models
Technology has created new demands over its advancement, with people constantly rushing to get the latest gadgets. However, technology has also helped old business demands with a new model.
Food and transportation are some of the basic daily demands which we all have. Apps such as Grab and Foodpanda have created a more efficient and lucrative environment for businesses, riders, and customers. Ordering food or a ride to a destination has never been smoother.
Both locals and tourists have enjoyed this change as things are more transparent, efficient, and an overall enjoyable experience. Gone are the days where you haggle with taxi drivers before getting on and unsure whether you have to further bargain upon reaching your destination.
2) Workflow Management
Keeping an organizational structure is one of the challenges of starting up any business. Paperwork would be everywhere, from handling finance, records, notes, and other company details.
Workflow management today is more efficient than it has ever been in the last decade. Tools such as Google(docs/slides/sheets), Trello, Slack, and Canva are some of the tools that many small business owners would use in creating a more efficient digital workflow. And the best part is a lot of these are free!
Business owners now have many options to optimize workflow management. Serv Malaysia is an example of how a digital base company helps automotive workshops manage their business no matter the period they’re enduring. Free workshop management tools, online bookings, customer records, and history are some of the services provided by the company to independent workshops. During a crisis such as a pandemic, independent workshops are affected the most, and the need to grow digitally has significantly increased!
3) Education/Information Available
Many self-taught masters such as Da Vinci, Steve Jobs, Christopher Nolan, and Mark Zuckerberg have graced our world. There are many more who exist today. With the Internet, their education process has opened new dimensions for them.
Potentially any skills you would like to learn today, there is someone out there teaching for free on their platform. Learning a musical instrument, coding, basic accounting, cooking, and marketing is possible from the comfort of your home.
One could even learn from some of the best minds and performers on podcasts such as The Tim Ferriss Show. A podcast focuses on interviewing top writers, athletes, actors, and entrepreneurs, and the host would dissect questions on their thought process to achieve world-class performance.
They say that mentorship is vital on this journey of life and entrepreneurship, and what better mentors to get other than world performers? It is a truly unique opportunity for this generation to have access to such individuals.
Communication is essential when it comes to both managing the company’s team and to the customers. The team must always be in the know of the company’s progress and day-to-day operation. Updates may now be received instantly with communication tools available such as Slack, emails, Evernote, and Whatsapp are available on the phone.
Even with customers, there are many ways to communicate with them, to the point where automated messaging could even be personalized by digging into customer’s information. Marketing productivity is boosted with automated messaging to help reach customers. However, this must be used sparingly. Too much of it would lose the human touch with the company’s relationships with its customers. Nobody wants a robot to be handling all their queries all the time!
5) Costing is reduced
Having capital has always been a factor why most people are afraid to start their business venture. But today, a business could start with as minimal costs as possible.
For example, if someone wants to be a fitness instructor. A gym and exercise equipment would usually be perceived as requirements in doing so.
Today fitness instructors can create personal programs for their clients to work out at home and keep track of their progress through online platforms. All the instructor would need is their fitness expertise and knowledge with a good internet connection. You may create programs for personal training or even a “class” type of environment package.
Gym rentals and equipment are no longer necessary with the new technology and fitness methods that are available.
6) Geography is less of a factor. Remote working, etc.
Location is always a factor when it comes to setting up a business. And it still is today, but it has become less significant compared to just a decade ago. People are now working remotely for talent, and skills could trump the need for the convenience of seeing someone in your city.
Employers may even give their employees the flexibility of working from home. This arrangement would allow the employees to manage their domestic affairs better while still getting their tasks done for work. Studies have found that employees perform better at work when their personal lives are managed well.
Technology has also opened a wider door for a global market reach. It is easier for a brand/product to compete globally with the many different platforms today to create an online presence. You can be located in SouthEast Asia while having customers who are living in Europe.
It is easier today for a great product produced in Malaysia to reach people all over the world. Malaysians are no longer limited to just their homegrown market but now may expand worldwide through technology.
What does the future hold?
REKA is excited to see what the next generation of Malaysian entrepreneurs and creatives have to offer. The growing number of innovators and creatives in the country is astounding.
As we continue our work to educate and empower the entrepreneurship and creative scene, we hope to work with more game changers out there