Opportunities for disruptive ideas have never been more abundant. Here’s how to make the most of them.
During a recent radio interview on the BBC, the host asked me what advice I would give to young people who want to start their own businesses. In the 46 years since I launched Student magazine, the world has certainly changed. The uncertain economic outlook and the relentless pace of technological advances make replicating Virgin’s success much more challenging for today’s young entrepreneur.
At Student magazine, we expressed our opposition to the Vietnam War and the Cold War; these days, governments now face the more nebulous threat of terrorism and instability in the Middle East and Africa. Back then, American and European markets were generally stable; today, the economic power of Western nations is being challenged by the fast-growing economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and growth opportunities and new markets can be found around the world.
There is also marketers’ new ability to bypass traditional channels – TV, radio and newspapers – and build a strong following online for their companies via Twitter, Google+, Facebook and new applications such as Path and Klout. This means that most startups are able to launch with smaller marketing budgets, and that entrepreneurs can break into new markets fast. It also means that successful companies must defend their positions, because their products can go out of fashion just as quickly as they caught on.
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