Those who came before Generation Y sometimes look over at this generation of entrepreneurs and wonder where those old time values went. The fact is that today’s new entrepreneurs are operating in a world which Generation X more or less founded, and the Baby Boomers could not have even imagined. Those Gen Y business people who have garnered success in this lightning-paced, closely linked environment have a few things to teach us and some are covered below. For more on what you can learn from Generation Y entrepreneurs, visit Knowledge to Action’s Facebook page.
Gen Y is known for not waiting their turn. Manners when you’re waiting for service aside, having the guts to grab any opportunity and run with it gets results. Many Gen Y entrepreneurs founded businesses because they weren’t prepared to wait their turn on the corporate ladder. With the age of retirement drifting further and further into the distance, you can see their point – by the time ‘their turn’ comes around, they may be too old to take full advantage or reap the best benefit for them. The unsettled nature of Gen Y can translate to powerful momentum in today’s fast moving business world, where resting on your laurels only sees you get left further behind.
Digital Communication Knowhow
Most Gen Ys spend so much time attached to devices, they sometimes appear part machine themselves. That said, knowing how to leverage social media and its associated technology to start up, develop, and grow a business is definitely a lesson for those of us who used to say social networking sites were ‘just a fad’ and online newspapers will never get read. Having digital expertise in today’s business world compounds your chances of success, whereas a knowledge deficit in this area could see your brand and business fail. Making and keeping a network has never been more important than now – and getting the word out about a business achievement to raise your profile can be done in an instant.
Humility is not known as a typical Gen Y trait – so what? To believe in your own ideas and your own abilities is the only way to bring yourself to the forefront of the field in which you wish to make your mark. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect your market to do so? Or your investors? Gen Y entrepreneurs have shown us time and time again that there’s nothing wrong with confidence, and it’s a lesson worth learning.
While Gen Y has been accused of many unflattering traits (overblown sense of entitlement, obsession with money, fame and the cult of celebrity, and a lack of focus and staying power to name just a few) some of these seemingly negative characteristics can be an advantage in business. Drive and passion, coupled with a sense of urgency have led Gen Y entrepreneurs to some amazing achievements. Many of them have developed businesses and business models old-school types have come to admire.
What’s your take on Gen Y entrepreneurs? Do you think they may have something to teach the rest of us?