Zulfiqar Anees is Founder/CEO at FastTechMedia.com
As a member of the Millennial generation that now dominates the world's population, the challenge of our generation is to build a better world through the products and services we offer, and also through the values that our companies represent. This Herculean mission for Millennial entrepreneurs comes with challenges that are unique to our generation. And when new problems arise, we are also forced to tackle them with new solutions.
Here are five practical steps Millennials can take to help them overcome obstacles and forge their path to business success.
Millennials are a distracted generation. We are known for having such short attention spans that a simple Facebook notification could break a productive streak. And although many things demand our attention, that does not mean that they are all important.
As entrepreneurs, it is essential that we can put distractions aside and focus on the things that really matter: our goals and visions, and the tasks at hand to make those dreams come true.
As a tech-savvy generation, we want to use it just like social media, to our advantage. You can disable notifications for your social media platforms and install apps to help you focus and block distractions. Keep your eyes on the prize and eliminate activities that waste your time and consume your mental energy.
Millennials now make up the majority of the consumer population. As we belong to the same generation as our target market, we are better able to truly identify their needs and wants. One way to reach our target audience is to create an interesting story about our brand.
Our clients want our narrative, to know the principles that we defend as a brand and the stories behind our products. Stories increase business value. Customers are more willing to spend their money on a brand that is aligned with their belief systems.
Illustrate your whys and hows: why did you start your business? How do you get your materials? And ultimately, how does your brand make the world a better place?
Millennials thrive on stories and through them, we can engage and connect with consumers at a level that inspires them to act.
One of the pitfalls of living in the information age is that we assume that we can do and learn anything because we believe that everything is available on the Internet. Part of being a smart entrepreneur is recognizing your weaknesses and realizing that studying YouTube tutorials cannot fill large gaps in your knowledge. That is why you will benefit greatly from working with competent and purpose-oriented professionals.
When you have team members with different skill sets and strengths, then your company can more effectively respond to problems that require some expertise. Having different perspectives can also open you up to new solutions that activate your own creativity or help you see things from a different angle.
I believe having trusted mentors and partners who are good at what they do and share the same vision and goals as you is a must if you want to scale your business. All of their experiences and knowledge combined can eventually lead the company to greater heights.
The Millennial generation was born during a tumultuous period in history. This means living through the Great Recession in the late 2000s and, more recently, facing the global health crisis that ushered in another economic recession. Despite these bleak circumstances, it pays to keep an optimistic outlook.
What are the benefits of optimism? A study by Michelle Gielan and Frost Bank found that optimists are more likely to experience better financial health than pessimists. They are also more likely to have healthier money habits.
The nationwide study found that 61% of optimists have started an emergency fund, while only 43% of pessimists did. The survey also found that 90% of optimists allocate money for major purchases compared to 70% of pessimists. This shows that optimists are future-oriented, adding a layer of financial protection against economic downturns.
As entrepreneurs, having an optimistic attitude during challenging situations allows us to shift our focus from the negative to the constructive. Support creative thinking and risk-taking, which are crucial to becoming successful millennial business owners.
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as "the process and result of successfully adjusting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands."
Entrepreneurs, even the most successful, are no strangers to failure. But resilience is what allows us to bounce back from those failures and emerge as stronger and wiser individuals.
We live in a fast-paced world that often transforms at the speed of light. New information and trends can suddenly change from old ones, so we must adapt to our ever-changing environment with agility and precision. Flexibility in business means that we can make internal modifications to respond effectively to external changes.
This is the challenge for many startups led primarily by Millennials. According to research conducted in 2019, 21.5% of startups fail in their first year, 30% in their second year, and 50% in their fifth year.
Many factors contribute to startup failures, and part of cultivating resilience is anticipating potential causes of failures and preparing for them well in advance. Setbacks are expected in any business, so we have to be prepared to fail fast, learn from experience, and regain our momentum.
We now live in a completely different business and economic climate than previous generations. We are faced with new problems and we have to find novel solutions to ensure that we are successful in our businesses.
We are fortunate to live in a time when we have numerous technological and educational tools at our disposal. On top of that, we can leverage our strengths as a resilient generation armed with the skills and mindset needed to withstand changes and tests on our business journeys.
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