What’s the most exciting new technology you invested in for your company in 2012 so far, and why?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
1. Try Out Retargeting
Retargeting works extremely well to help buyers convert. It also makes your company appear larger than it is from a branding perspective, since your customers see banner ads everywhere they surf.
– Josh Weiss, Bluegala
2. Offline Is the New Online
I found tremendous return on taking social media conversation and relationships offline. Real face-to-face communication is an opportunity to deeply engage the many loose digital connections and infinitely increases your odds for collaboration and doing business with them. Try hosting a focus group, conference or just go grab a coffee and see what happens.
– Christopher Kelly, Sentry Centers
3. Put In the Airtime
Business runs on individual connections, preferably face-to-face. Social media has helped us to make those connections immensely, but adding tools for face-to-face communication — via video or otherwise — will make a huge difference in our ability to build the networks our businesses need. Airtime is certainly a step in the right direction.
– Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting
4. Tools for Lead Nurturing
While it’s not very new, there are many new tools that can help you convert a lead into an actual sale by continuing the relationship. The vast majority of site visitors are not ready to buy the first time they come to your site, so lead nurturing helps get them to the point of the sale.
– Nathan Lustig, Entrustet
5. International Markets
99designs is integrating with Smartling to make our website accessible to new markets in different languages. Look beyond the borders of North America for big opportunities and big markets.
– Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa
6. Crowdvoicing Technology
We invested in the development of matching algorithms for our crowdvoicing marketplace. Because it’s a new technology and one which we think could have the impact of similar movements, like crowdsourcing, we’re very excited.
– Alexander Torrenegra, Voice123/VoiceBunny, BookingMarkets, inBedme, Torrenegra Labs, and others
7. Property Shipping Software
We’ve invested our tech dollars in continuing to upgrade property shipping software. Our name is Molding Box, and the theory behind the name is “molding” our business around clients’ needs. We continue to strive for better customer experience, and we focus technology upgrades in that direction.
– Jordan Guernsey, Molding Box
8. Improving Company Communication
15five is where every employee completes a weekly report that takes 15 minutes to write and 5 minutes to read. The CEO is presented with the reports, including updates on bottlenecks, successes, and ideas. I love it because I’m able to get a snapshot of the entire company with little effort — it’s amazing how much slips through the cracks in a traditional reporting hierarchy.
– Emerson Spartz, Spartz Media
9. Care More With Contactually
They’ve solved the riddle on intelligent automated CRM that integrates directly into your Gmail account and even syncs with enterprise-level CRM. The beauty of Contactually is how it uses game dynamics to ensure you follow up with key prospects in your network.
– Michael Margolis, Get Storied
10. Video Isn’t Going Anywhere
As consumers are bogged down with so much content on the web, we understand the very short attention span and the lazy eye of today’s web user. Video has brought about a great change in helping our website close the sale with new video technology, allowing every product on our website to have a descriptive video the user can watch with a simple line of code.
– Pablo Palatnik, ShadesDaddy.com
11. Facebook Crowdsourcing Tools
Modify is a customer-driven company; our fans help us choose colors, name our products and often even design our watches. Napkin Labs offers a suite of amazing Facebook tools that allow you to gather insights from your fans. Our favorite new tool that they created is called SuperFans, which helps us clearly see — and reward — our most active fans.
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
12. Asana Makes It Easy
I’ve found that most project management tools are so cumbersome that employees end up keeping their own to-do list. Asana did a great job of solving that problem. Our employees love using it as a to-do list, and Asana doubles as a great project management system so that I can see the progress on any project whenever I want. We’ve become more organized, and fewer tasks fall through the cracks.
– Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep
13. Buying the Right Devices
As part of an upcoming project, we plan to do a series of video tutorials. To accommodate we’ve invested in a Micro Four Thirds Camera setup for shooting on-location video. The camera offers video quality only previously found high-end DSLRs or Pro camera setups, but now at a much lower price point and size. The new compact setup should drastically boost our video quality without blowing our budget.
– Nick Reese, Microbrand Media