The Entrepreneur in Both The Young And Old.
A decade ago saw the biggest financial crash since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. With it brought a huge shift in consumer, corporate and community behaviour. Especially amongst Generations Y(aka The Millienials) and the now upcoming Z.
Attitudes started to shift away from the tried and true, more mainstream ways of marketing and producing products. People become more inclined to listen to people they admired and respected via online channels in the forms of “talking heads” vlogs, podcasts and more for their views on products, to personal issues like race, gender and identity.
With less money around, you could say that people are more open with themselves. Consumers have become more thrifty, looking for a product that was both price and quality adequete.
Fast forward back to the present, online content creators are now running fully fledged businesses and are figureheads for today’s young generations. Ebay is no longer just a second-hand marketplace but an alternative to traditional retail platforms. Social media now has advertising incentives to hit audiences directly and make a big impact.
The youth aren’t listening to giant, faceless corporations anymore it seems.
Sonic Youth Entrepreneur
The most common connotation for an entrepreneur currently is usually a guy in his mid twenties-thirties, bright-eyed, perfect smile…you get the idea. They built a killer app, product or own a media startup, you name it. They’re young, they’re full of fire, they want to move mountains (and rock the planet)!
And the greatest thing about this generation is that they can create all of this out of their bedroom. Want an audience? reasearch and create social media channels. Want to build a product? Learn to code (for free) on the internet. Learn about graphic design, e-commerce and start a clothing business.
In many cases, the producer is the audience and consumer. They’re making products they like to the people they like because well, they’re one and the same. To any parents reading this, these young entrepreneurs are probably going to the same music festivals your kids are. This gap between both groups creates trust and mutual understanding. There’s less formalities, there’s more ownership on both sides.
A bit of Old Spice
With the advent of these young upstarts bringing a more casual approach to business, where do our older businessmen and women fit into the puzzle? Because with all these millenials running around the place, the importance of company culture and how you fit into a said culutre can be tricky. This could be one of the reasons why millenials can be percieved as entitled, because we want things our way all of the time, if it’s possible.
Natrually people will want to spend more time with others that share common interests with, both generation Y and Z get to do this constantly with their online friends, communities and content outlets. They can tune out, and not have to interact with people outside of their interests.
This can become a problem however when companies are not willing to hire or listen to people outside of their demographic. Take the tech industry’s culture fit issues, which usually stem from starups only taking on people similar to themselves.
This can be detrimental when the young entrepreneur could do with a little support and guidance from someone far more senior than they are. What’s the one thing that a senior entrepreneur have over the young? Experience and stability.
Young people have tendency to be arrogant and naive. Sure, it’s amazing that you managed to get a six/seven-figure sum investment to back your idea, but how are you going to make that investment last and return tenfold?
Young business is all about gimmicks, buzzwords, “experts” and gurus. Yet fundimentally, business is still the same, and what better way to learn the hard graft that has dont it for a couple to several decades over you?
What does this mean for business?
Work together. Having the ability to work 18 hours a day,lots of drive, innovative ideas and aiming for the pie in that sky is what the bushy-tailed prime of youth is all about. You want to do and see everything.
However, when you’re older you don’t have as much time or energy to expend. Not to mention, going off in too many directions could lead to failure. So as a senior entrepreneur you could already pinpoint what strengths and priorities a company has, focus on their growth and everything else can be considered for later.
Seniors can learn from juniors about how things like social media and SEO are pretty much essentially for all businesses now, where juniors can learn decades worth of business knowledge to create campaigns that have the potential to build that startup into something far bigger.
Combine both perspectives and don’t write each other off. There’s plenty to understand from either side and there’s huge potential to gain if you’re willing to get out your comfort to learn from one another.