21st century entrepreneurship is about creating and growing for-profit businesses and other types of social enterprises that add value beyond the traditional bottom line
….and help to make some part of the world a bit brighter for all.
21st century entrepreneurs recognize how the high-speed internet and cloud-based technologies can be used create global business opportunities with limited capital investment.
A 21st century entrepreneur in service or creative industries understands how to harness this technology to add value to the services delivered to existing clients and extend the reach of his or her client-base.
A 21st century entrepreneur understands that collaboration is more likely to lead to success than dog-eat-dog competition.
Business has changed.
No one works for the same organization for an entire career. For most industries, that era ended some time in the 1970s or 1980s.
In fact, today employment is rapidly shifting from traditional employment contexts to project-based work, similar to the way the film and music industries have operated for decades.
Individuals who prefer to work inside a company now need to act like entrepreneurs as they build a portfolio of skills and experiences that open the door to employment or gigs in the project-based economy.
21st century entrepreneurship opens the door to people helping other people understand the new team-based approach to business in a global economy and how to use technology to work from home or in a co-working space. It’s akin to teaching someone how to fish, rather than giving them a fish. I’ll be offering non-legal educational resources to help individuals navigate this new normal.
21st century entrepreneurship is adopting new approaches to organizational structure, ownership, management and marketing to empower teams and employees to innovate and find solutions by asking better questions rather than writing reports that respond to issues no longer relevant.
The 21st century organization understands that sustainable business practices add value to the bottom line and are the key to long-term viability as a business, not a cost.
The 21st century business is a family-friendly business with policies that contribute to employee health and foster civic engagement.
21st Century Entrepreneurship in Alabama
Entrepreneurship isn’t just for the 20-somethings pulling all-nighters to create a transformative new software app or scientific researchers ready to commercialize the next biotech patent.
Entrepreneurship is more than buying into a new franchise—although there currently is (and may continue to be in the near term) a place for franchised businesses in certain industries.
Synergies Come From Creative Communities
I believe that the path to a vibrant future in rural areas is to revitalize opportunities and synergies that grow out creative communities, maker movements, arts, culture and recreation.
My vision for 21st century entrepreneurship in Alabama includes reviving and reinvigorating Alabama’s local economies, especially rural communities, through ecotourism, outdoor recreation, and sustainable local food systems.
By enhancing our state’s focus in these areas we can:
- Create new opportunities for local business owners to extend existing services;
- Create new niche markets for entrepreneurs who offer innovative new products and services;
- Create jobs and business opportunities for individuals who want to work outdoors in nature to make a living doing something they love.
21st century entrepreneurship is about reviving civic pride and the sense of connection that comes from empowered individuals pursuing meaningful work, whether as an owner or as an employee.
It’s about social entrepreneurship and social innovation through new business models, like B Corporations, that take a Triple Bottom Line approach to measuring success, member cooperatives, employee-owned businesses, and nonprofits with like-minded visions engaged in public education and advocacy efforts.
A 21st Century Economy is a Purposeful, Human, Humane Economy
As I say on the Law With Purpose….By Design page: Every person is here for a reason. God designed each of us for a unique purpose.
We’re each given certain gifts and talents and missions to bring light to our respective corners of the world. My corner of the world happens to be Alabama. I believe I’m in this state for a particular reason. I also believe that Alabama can do better than “business as usual.”
“Big” Isn’t Automatically Bad
I’m not opposed to “big” companies or big organizations just because they are big.
At least for the near future, we need big companies in certain industries.
Capital intensive manufacturing industries are, by necessity, going to be big—at least for another decade or so. Technology may eventually change that.
For now, most of us fly commercially for business and pleasure. As a civilized society, we need trains, ships and cargo planes for transport. Individually, we’re still driving cars and trucks right and drones haven’t yet replaced the need for long and short-haul trucking.
The energy that fuels the transportation industry is changing, but the reality is that we need the forms of transportation that require complex manufacturing.
Some of those big companies can be pillars in Alabama’s economy as we transition into the new.
One thing is for certain, like it or not:
In the economic reality of a 21st century, information-based global economy, big companies can disappear quickly as market conditions change and disruptive technologies reshape customer needs and demands.
Resilient, big 21st century companies recognize the value that comes from sustainable initiatives like zero-waste manufacturing and have started to account for costs and environmental risks that don’t show up on a traditional balance sheet.
Big companies that understand what it takes to be resilient in the 21st century economy are the types of companies most likely to survive . Those are the “big” companies we need to recruit to Alabama— if the state is going to be involved in recruiting private industry.
Vibrant economies have a diverse mix of established “big businesses,” startups, and small businesses in diverse business sectors. Vibrant economies don’t look like the company towns common in the early 20th century.
The states and regions with the greatest economic vibrancy encourage entrepreneurship and creative thinking, are willing to look at new ways of doing things. Economic vibrancy comes from innovation, not simply rehashing solutions that may have worked once in a different era.
Just a teaser….
This post is just an introduction to the concept of the 21st century economy and how it relates to the legal and strategic communication services I provide.
I’ll be writing more about the 21st century economy over on the blog and in my newsletter.
The newsletter content I’ll be sharing is designed for everyone who wants to better understand the 21st century economy.
You can sign up for the newsletter, even if you aren’t interested in becoming a client for legal services.