The pursuit of profit isn’t a new one, and from Marco Polo to Mark Zuckerberg, the world has seen many different faces attempt this venture. One common characteristic, though? Entrepreneurship. Take a look at what it looked like seven centuries ago, and how it has evolved since.
Global business? That’s not a 21st century discovery. In fact, we have the early Renaissance entrepreneurs to thank for that. Craftsmen in the 1300s spent several years working as apprentices to learn their trade, make more money and therefore hold more power in civic affairs. When product demand eventually grew to be more than the average tradesman could provide, trade expanded into other countries, and the “adventure-preneur” was born.
Thanks to ship-building advancement, the first global company, the Dutch East India Company, got its start during this time period. With international travel now booming, merchants began readjusting their selling tactics by strategically setting up trading posts along trade routes to sell supplies to shipping crews. Because colonies didn’t rapidly show profit in these tactics, many English investors withdrew their capital, leaving the market less-competitive– and entrepreneurs more independent than ever (Cue the United States’ independence).
The next evolutionary stage of entrepreneurship introduces the great innovators many of us so commonly know. Inventors such as Benjamin Franklin and Eli Whitney thrived during this era, but they weren’t the only ones in the market. Business owners could taste what success was like, and began rapidly working on inventions to increase productivity, scale manufacturing and reduce costs. And with wind-powered energy a hindrance of the past, they did just that. In fact, we can thank the inventors of this time period for the technology, transportation and communication that we have today.
With global trade, electricity and communication now at most entrepreneurs’ fingertips, business in the 20th century was on the rise, with no end in sight. With mass communication now a viable option for marketing a business, 20th century business owners took advantage of it. Advertising spending went up to 45% of the United States’ income, and by 1910, $600 million was being invested into advertising for big businesses alone. For the first time ever, entrepreneurs had newspapers, television and radio as platforms to share their products with the world.
Welcome to the Information Age! Gone are the days when computers fill an entire room. Personal computers are now the norm, and global marketplaces can be accessed with the click of a button. Geographic borders, that were once limitations, have been blurred, and most entrepreneurs can boast a “.com” at the end of their business name. Modern day business owners no longer just spend their time innovating new products and services, but instead, they manage employees and run new companies.
We may not be able to predict what entrepreneurship will look like in the future, or whose face will represent the next era, but we know one thing will remain the same– our team at Arkansas Capital will be here supporting entrepreneurs and growing local businesses in our state. Since 1957, our team has provided flexible financing products of over $1.5 billion in capital to help meet business owners’ needs. Contact us today to find out how you can be a part of history.