You already know who Millennials are: people born between 1982 and 2000. But who are Millennipreneurs? They may not be small business owners yet, but entrepreneurship plays a significant role in their lives. According to a survey of millennials by EY and Economic Innovation Group, 78% consider entrepreneurs successful, and 62% have considered starting their own business. Fifty-five per cent believe their generation is more entrepreneurial than past ones, although the data says otherwise: Millennials are actually less likely to be entrepreneurs than people in other age groups. At age 30, millennials owned fewer businesses than Gen-Xers or Baby Boomers at the same age.
Read More: Five Pitfalls of Starting your Own Business
Why do Millennials choose entrepreneurship?
Millennipreneurs want to start businesses for similar reasons of all age groups: the desire to be your own boss (40%), want flexibility (21%) and want to be passionate about the work you do (21%), according to a survey by Wells Fargo. But like many entrepreneurs, Millennial business owners face financial challenges. Forty-two per cent say they don’t have the financial means to start a business. And two-thirds have at least one source of long-term debt already, whether it be a student loan, car payment or mortgage.
However, they still plan for the future with optimism. Millennial business owners have formal Business Plans, cyber-attack plans and disaster recovering plans at higher rates than older small business owners. They also have business succession plans in the event of an emergency. Millennipreneurs may do business differently than generations before them, but the passion that drives them is universal. But we all need support.
While becoming an entrepreneur is easier than ever in today’s hyper-connected, digital world, rushing into business could spell disaster. From financing to lead flow, there’s a lot to know if you want to be a successful business owner. While there’s plenty to learn as you go, advice from those who have been there can be invaluable as you learn what it takes to be your own boss.
If you are a Millennial, keep the following tips in mind as you begin the journey of starting a business.
- Focus on Customer Service: For millennials starting out on their own, it is recommended that they focus on the customer. Think carefully about the problems that the customer is facing and how your product or service will solve that problem. The best way to do that is to think of it from this perspective. What kind of customer experience do you want your customers to be raving about? When you’re always focused on what the customer needs, excellent customer service and a noteworthy experience will naturally fall into place.
- Persistence Pays Off: In my humble opinion, persistence is one of the key ingredients when starting a new business. When starting a new venture, there are going to be roadblocks, challenges and moments when you question what you’re doing and why. Sticking with it, despite the doubt or uncertainty, is key. When I started my first business, I knew nothing about entrepreneurship, having come from the corporate sector. But I was willing to learn everything and anything to succeed. Some times looked grim, and it appeared failure was on the horizon, but my determination and motivation kept me going.
- Know What You’re Selling: This seems obvious, but it’s easy to jump into business without a clear idea of what your product and service can do for customers. I can’t raise this issue enough and, from my own personal experience, state how important it is to know the product or service one is offering. People like to know what they are paying for. As a business owner, it is crucial to first understand the details, benefits, pros and cons of what you are offering and be straight forward in explaining what you have to offer. This is especially important in growing industries, where new competition comes onto the market nearly every day. There is always going to be a lot of competition no matter what you do. Stand out from the rest by offering resourceful information, a clear picture of what your customer is getting and a piece of mind that you will be there when they need your services.
- Separate Business Expenses from Personal Finances: This technical tip is critical, yet easy to overlook when you’re just starting a business. While it may seem easy to use your personal account for starting up or paying initial expenses, it is always better to create a business account, transfer the funds into them and then use it. Get it out of the way now and you’ll make things easier later.
- Provide Value with Free Tools: Social media has changed the way businesses reach their audience and you can – and should – do a lot more than promote your business to followers. Focus on free mediums of marketing. Your goal is to put out a lot of helpful and actionable content that builds goodwill with your audience. Provide value before asking for anything to build a following that knows, likes, and trusts you, which means they’re more likely to spend their money with your business.
- Cut Your Living Expenses: Preparing for a shift in your income is an important part of planning your business. Reduce your living expenses as much as possible before you start your business. Starting a business always takes at least twice as long as you can imagine and costs three times as much. While this can be challenging, you’ll reap the benefits in the long term. This new cost of living will give you much more runway to make your business idea successful and will give you a better chance at success.
- Know Your Competition: Setting yourself apart from others is the key to success in any business and that’s why it’s important to know your competitors. Competitor research becomes critical to understand what your direct competition is offering and at what price. Find gaps in their offerings – these shortcomings will define your business. When you know how you stand out, you can better sell your product and service, allowing you to grow a thriving business for years to come.
Read More: Your First Year as Business Owner
Use these tips to get started on the right foot. Starting a business isn’t easy, and you’ll learn plenty along the way, but the experience of others who have been in your shoes before can be a guiding light while you figure it all out.