Transitioning to new and advanced technologies will transform today’s startups into tomorrow’s titans of industry.                          

By Scott Latham

Everyone has a different view of what they hope to see in the future. Some have personal goals, and some look at the larger picture. As an entrepreneur who has grown up in the Philadelphia area, my goals center around this amazing City and its startup communities. As we move forward and I imagine the year 2020, I see an increase in technology, allowing us to become more and more successful every day. With the huge advances we constantly see in technology, I don’t think my goals are too lofty.

Although some people might think of the film Wall-E when they picture a technology-centered future, I prefer to look at the positives technology provides. Yes, older generations may tell us to stop using our cell phones, and yes, we’ll need to remind ourselves to stop and smell the roses from time to time, but we will truly be gaining so much more. Our access to the world will only continue to expand, and in 2020, despite any societal flaws we may see, we can ask ourselves, “What would we be missing if it weren’t for technology?” and we will know that technology has been extraordinarily beneficial.

So what will we see more of with the increase of technology in 2020? In my vision, the answer is as follows: New ideas. New people. New information. New everything.

It is crucial for those in the world of startups, especially those in Philadelphia, to take advantage of what technology has to offer. While larger, denser cities might seem more established, technology is where smaller cities, like ours, have the chance to become even more successful. There is no reason to limit our reach just to Philly when we will have infinite instant connections to the rest of the country and even the world online.

Reach Out

Don’t limit your options or your reach. It’s important to understand that the connections the internet and other forms of technology provide us with today will only expand as time goes on. When you think of 2020, don’t just think of the people you can reach in Philly or even in Pennsylvania. Consider how you can cater your startup to people all over the world. As you keep everyone’s interests in mind, think about the new ways technology will provide you with a larger outreach, and capitalize on any opportunities to do so.

Think Big

Believe that you will be successful. Don’t just think about what your startup needs now – think about what your startup will need in five or ten years. Know that your startup will become more successful, giving you more room to grow and expand. Even if your client pool is small now, it’s bound to grow due to your dedication and collaboration with the other startups of Philly. Contemplate how you can incorporate technology into your business to handle a larger client base. At Colabination, our business plan looks far into the future. As we designed our model, we were sure to remember that Colabination won’t forever be a startup – one day we will be an established business, and we need to plan for that success.

Do Your Research

Do you remember the transition from MySpace to Facebook? Or from flip phones to smart phones? The people who knew what was “cool” right away were able to use new trends more effectively than those who weren’t keeping up. Keep yourself up-to-date with the world’s new technologies. Think about what is most effective, what is most affordable, and what is most popular at any given point in time.

Working at Colabination, a fashion-tech startup, my colleagues and I are used to keeping up with trends, particularly fashion, but we have quickly learned that fashion is not the only place where trends happen. For all we know, 2020 could bring back some more 90’s fashions, but I’ll bet it won’t bring back the CD-ROM version of Encyclopedia Britannica. Unlike other facets of life and business, the world of technology doesn’t work in circles – it is constantly moving forward. Make sure you know where it’s going.

Look Forward

Don’t just plan for 2014. Don’t even just plan for 2015. Think about 2020. What will people want? Consider how you can provide these things for the people of the future. Colabination constantly keeps the future in mind, from the designers we choose, to our social media outreach, to plans of pop-up stores, and we never stop looking forward. Of course, your ideas for the future of your startup will vary based upon what you do, but think of ways you can incorporate future technologies into your plans.

2020 holds something big for all of us in the startup community. The growth I envision in technology is just the push we need to ensure that Philly continues to thrive. Here’s to finding success by working hard, remaining dedicated, and always looking to the future.

Scott Latham is founder and CEO of Colabination. Follow Scott @_ScottLatham.

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