Each generation of entrepreneurs in the US faces a somewhat different set of circumstances: Different social movements, economic policies and limitations, and technology options surround each new wave of entrepreneurs.
Baby boomers are preparing for retirement, Generation Z are just starting out, and Generation X is in the prime of their careers–but what about the millennials?
They fall into the group that were born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, which makes them the bulk of the workforce these days.
Their concerns aren’t about retirement or maintaining a business, like Generation X; Millennial entrepreneurs focus on how to continue growing, learning from the mistakes they made when they started out, and trying to balance family life with their blossoming business.
Take a look at the changes and circumstances millennial entrepreneurs are faced with.
Changes in technology
Millennials were fortunate enough to grow up with technology being pretty prevalent in their childhood, while still knowing a time before technology was such a focus. However, there are still constant changes to technology that make it difficult even for millennials to keep up with.
It’s a constant challenge to stay in-the-know with the newest social media marketing strategies, the up-and-coming social media platforms, and the expectations in the business world that come with staying relevant.
With the focus being on Facebook and Twitter for so long, businesses will have to be aware of new platforms such as Snapchat and new algorithms that affect how many people you can reach online. It’s easy to lose traffic, customers, and sales in this digital economy.
Advice: Millennials are going to have to work harder to stand out, find multiple ways to engage with their audience, and reach their audience despite the overwhelming amount of information and competition out there. Stay relevant and offer valuable information rather than focusing on selling – brand loyalty is everything.
Another area of concern for millennial entrepreneurs this year: Online retail. It used to be a niche, but it has recently become so common that some brands are exclusively online. Shoppers now expect online retail possibilities with their favorite brands.
E-commerce is a crowded industry and it has become more popular due to technology making it easier than ever to take part in. This has caused millennial entrepreneurs to face more competition than ever, but some brands are working to fight the competition by adding something unique to their store.
Advice: Watch out this year for major retailers like Amazon that are taking over online shopping and instead, find something that will make people find you.
For example, a well known cigar brand offers a custom cigar recommendation engine as part of their company to make sure they stand out. Try to offer limited edition pieces rather than something that could be sold in bulk on sites like Amazon.
Changing others’ perception of millennials
The other concern that millennials are dealing with this year is that there is a slightly negatively skewed perception about the people of this generation. Many people have already decided that millennials feel more entitled than other generations and don’t believe in hard work.
This means that people are going to view working with a company run by millennial entrepreneurs differently–assuming that they don’t work hard, are lazy, unprofessional, too focused on ideals, or are too young and entitled to relate.
Millennials are going to have to work extra hard to fight the stereotypes against their generation to make sure customers and potential partners aren’t turned off by them before even doing business together.
Changing the perception against millennials can be a challenge if customers make assumptions after learning the age of the founder of a company.
Advice: Millennials are going to be underestimated, perceived wrong, and lose opportunities, but they can avoid this by working harder, fighting the stereotypes, and proving everyone wrong. Allow the customers that give you a chance and are pleased with your business to let others know that the stereotypes don’t apply here.
While millennials are a talented group with more technology under their belt than previous generations, they are going to have to fight continued stereotypes, watch out for the newest generation, and find ways to stand out in an ever-crowded, competitive business world.