Millennials are notoriously branded as entitled, impatient, often jobless young adults with painfully short attention spans. Accurate as it may be, the statement should not be left without context. Not to be apologetic for the collective, but these qualities are, in fact, logical consequences of having to grow up during an economic downturn and seeing the traditional workforce crumble before their eyes. Therefore, millennials are naturally drawn towards finding meaningful, exciting, and profitably stable environments – classic start-ups. Furthermore, the "negative" qualities are not necessarily detrimental to their quest to find the middle ground of financial success and personal growth. This startup guide for Millennials holistically covers all fronts in building a new business – from the personal to technical – tailored especially for the younger generation.
Expert Insight:Studies show that, on average, 66% of millennials are interested in starting their business independently. This number varies in some regions: 58% for the United States, 74% for China, and 58% for South Africa, to name a few. However, despite the tremendous generational interest, as well as the staple names representing the millennial success stories, only about 4% of the younger population actually find success in their endeavors.
Taking Advantage of the Disadvantage
While many business books promise a clear-cut formula for success, most of which boiling down to hard work and putting in more hours, established companies beg to disagree. Hard work, although undeniably necessary for success, is often overrated. Like most of the modern tools at their disposal – smartphones, smart cars, smart speakers – smart work is the new norm:
- Millennials can take advantage of their short-lived attention span in finding areas that they deem interesting enough to invest in.
- Infamous for their impatience, millennials can bank on their sometimes overzealous nature during challenging times. After all, impatience also comes from the desire to achieve a goal. And the extra adrenaline could work to produce creative solutions quickly.
- Be bold. The older generations would advise taking proper precautions in taking risky steps, and rightfully so. However, avoiding risks equate to avoiding potentials for success. It is important to remember that with youth comes endless possibilities ahead. There's less to lose from failing early on than there is in never trying.
- Pertinent needs always inform innovations, be it from the general public or specific subsets. And needs always stem from problems. Viewing the cultural, social, economic, or environmental issues as raw materials for building new solutions is key to establishing a solid niche as a young entrepreneur.
That being said, the first step is, unequivocally, to leverage the existing conditions to your advantage. This includes taking the "negative" stereotypes and finding meaningful ways to play those to your company's benefit.
Keeping it Real
Cliched as it is, being true to one's nature dispels confusions that lie ahead. But who's to say that nature should not be curated? As discussed above, it is a matter of shifting perspectives – though it should not stop there. Maximizing one's potentials involves a lot of carefully selecting the right parts to grow and developing them to suit the pressing needs. Millennials, in particular, are intrinsically gifted by their circumstances in many ways:
- Normally digital - As the digital becomes the new normal, those born into the vanguard of the digital revolution are the first citizens of the online community. With 91% of the generation utilizing the technology to explore new frontiers, they are well-versed in using online tools to figure out their way around obstacles.
- Woke and stoked - Having experienced significant social challenges first-hand, at the time blind obedience fell out of favor, the younger generation is more socially present. In fact, 60% prioritize career opportunities that contribute and participate in improving social, cultural, or environmental conditions. This proves that they are not only present but instead actively performing their social responsibilities.
- Invest in your interest - Nowadays, never-before-seen markets open at unprecedented rates. Part of this can be attributed to increasingly specific demands. But a significant portion owes their existence to young entrepreneurs building their niche. Dedicating time, effort, and energy towards your interests ensures ease in sustaining the momentum. Moreover, special interests are often fertile grounds for creative solutions. Any field harbors potentials; fitness enthusiasts can become health coaches, wanderlust can be transformed into travel blogs, and love for animals can turn into pet care, to name a few – the sky is the limit.
Expert Insight: Appreciating the difference that perspective and personality can make in starting a new venture aids in building and sustaining a viable idea. However, it is imperative to remember that businesses are architectural structures, and the ideas are just the foundations. In building a complete, functioning company, millennials need to know the ways of traditional companies - and know where to break away from it.
Beyond the Basics
Speaking by the book, there are defined steps in starting a business. While these are proven ways to ensure business longevity, there are also some problems that may hinder progress, such as funding for startups. Furthermore, other factors like Intellectual Property also play a part in maximizing the company's potentials.
With these multifaceted avenues to address, millennials are challenged to reimagine the existing practices to suit both their situation and sensibilities:
- For instance, millennials are known to veer away from the rigid organizational structure of corporations. Hence, the emergence of flat hierarchy.
- They place great value on creativity. And young CEOs recognize that creativity grows better in free environments. So they created flexible working conditions.
- Being socially active on a global scale, the younger generation earned their respective network of connections. These relationships even emulate personal connections in some cases. Young entrepreneurs incorporate this into their operations – from building the perfect team to finding global clients.
Building a brand new business is an intricate process that often requires a whole lot of creativity. And with endless creativity at their disposal, millennials are ripe to venture into the entrepreneurial world. The key is to know where and how to start. Usually, ideas are the precursors to starting a company. But it's not to say that some enterprises originate from a specific demand or need, sometimes even personal interest. Capturing the perfect business idea and sustaining it largely depends on the manner of viewing things. However, realizing the company ideas while also achieving financial goals, calls for careful company structuring.
And although business books often discount luck as a success factor, they are gravely misreading the situation. It is crucial never to forget: luck is but an intersection between preparation and opportunity. And while opportunity can be left to chance, the most meaningful ones are actively created. Therefore, both components of luck – preparation and opportunity – are actionable matters on which you can base your actions.
Originally published 12 August, 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.