How Can Entrepreneurs Use Existing Technology to Their Advantage?

Author:Gandhi, Ritam

Starting a business requires determination, dedication and a willingness to commit a significant amount of time, money and resource. From coming up with an innovative product or service to fill a gap in the market, to sourcing your own customers and clients--entrepreneurs face many challenges when pursuing their business goals. The startling failure rate of new businesses is a testament to this reality--in 2014, just over half (53%) of the businesses launched in the UK survived until their third birthday.

The UK's entrepreneurial spirit remains resoundingly strong, however, with hundreds of thousands of new businesses being launched every year. An impressive 589,000 companies were established in 2017 --over 100,000 more than the previous year. Yet in this fiercely competitive climate, both new and seasoned entrepreneurs need to be taking advantage of the full range of opportunities available to them to successfully develop and grow their business.

For startups delivering a tech-enabled good or service, there is a perception that the digital infrastructure used to support the product needs to be developed completely in-house. In reality, this is simply not the case. In fact, some of the most successful startups have utilised existing technology readily available on the market to make their mark on an industry.

Take Uber as an example--many believe that innovative digital technology is what allowed the transport giant to disrupt the taxi industry. In reality, the foundation of the company's success is far less ground-breaking. Uber used services that were already available on the market features like GPS location tracking and automatic credit card payment systems, which are integral to their services, were in fact already available on the market as standard technologies for many years. The business simply harnessed the potential of these available solutions and used it to fill a gap in the market.

However, effective tech adoption is not exclusive to large companies; early-stage and small businesses can also use existing tech to their advantage. Our experience with UK-based charity Signalong serves as an ideal case study. Having won Studio Graphene's Build My App competition, we were able to build an app which harnessed the existing power of AI and Google Vision technology to create an app to assist those with hearing, speech, language and communication needs. The app allows people to take photos of everyday objects on their phones and then...

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