The Next Great Business Challenge: Keeping The Personal Touch


The Next Great Business Challenge: Keeping The Personal Touch

By Liz Elting

Business 2 Community - October 15, 2012

There are plenty of challenges facing this generation of entrepreneurs. Startups must consider modern obstacles like attracting customers on the Web, managing relationships over social media, and communicating to a broader audience around the world. And then there are all of the traditional difficulties: creating market demand, carving out a competitive advantage, and becoming (and staying) profitable. Jumping each of those hurdles is important, but none of them qualifies as the most pressing problem facing entrepreneurs.

Want to see where young companies are truly grappling? Take a look at technology. On the one hand, technology advances have allowed small, nascent organizations to compete against the big guys, to reach prospects far from their headquarters, and to curb costs and boost profits. Unfortunately, the downside of all this progress is the temptation to dump face-to-face interaction on the fast-track to the future.

As an entrepreneur myself, the greatest challenge I see is our potential to fall so in love with technology that we see it as the solution to all our communication problems. There are plenty of problems that technology can solve effectively. But the impact of human input and live interaction remains equally important. The cities that are thriving around the world today are the ones where leaders in finance, economy, creativity and information generation are clustered together in close proximity. Ideas and solutions emerge when people can interact in person.

We’re seeing national advertising now where the primary benefit offered is, “You get to talk to a real person.” It’s kind of frightening that offering service from a person has become a competitive advantage—but it has. As entrepreneurs craft their international communication strategies, I hope they will remember that technology is a wonderful tool for communicating with any prospect, anywhere on earth, but it will never replace the power of the personal touch in business.

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