Launching a new business is an intimidating, demanding project, and entrepreneurs of all ages may face numerous challenges along the way. However, younger entrepreneurs may face additional obstacles related to age, Jen McKenzie takes up the tale.
In addition to all of the normal challenges that most entrepreneurs face, younger founders may encounter stereotypes and other social factors related to their age or generation that increase the stress and complication associated with running a startup. By understanding these obstacles up-front, you may be able to mitigate them going forward
- Financial IssuesMany entrepreneurs of all ages face financing challenges when launching a new business or growing a startup. Younger entrepreneurs, however, also often have to pay student loans and other expenses that are common in an adult’s younger years. While starting and growing a business with limited financial resources or higher personal expenses can be stressful, this is not an impossible feat.It is important that you have realistic expectations about turning a profit. Remember that most entrepreneurs do not turn an instant profit, and instead, it may take several years before your business is operating in the black. You can also better prepare yourself for financial obstacles by developing a solid budget and having an emergency fund.
- Facing Age StereotypesOlder or more experienced professionals may view your age as a detriment, and they may question your devotion to the project and your credibility. Some people may also think of you as being lazy because of your generation’s overall stereotype, and you may find that many people do not take your business plans or goals seriously.It can be difficult for a young entrepreneur who has not yet proven himself or herself in the business community to command respect. However, avoid letting this dissuade you from moving forward. Treat each person you interact with a high level of professionalism and respect, and believe in your project wholeheartedly. Eventually, others may adjust their opinions about you.
- Social RejectionMany young entrepreneurs who would benefit from social support from friends and family members unfortunately do not receive the support they need. Others may not understand your business concept or believe in your ideas. This can create an isolating experience that can stifle ambition and entrepreneurial effort if you let it get to you.In addition, young entrepreneurs who are focused on growing their startup may find it difficult to nurture relationships with family and friends. Avoid letting these important relationships fall to the wayside, and make them a priority. Especially nurture relationships with others who support your efforts. In addition, build a network of professional colleagues who can relate to or understand your passion and drive.
- Hiring Employees for the First TimeEventually, a young entrepreneur will need to hire employees and grow a talented, hardworking team. However, many entrepreneurs find it difficult to connect with the right talent and to encourage them to join the team. Younger entrepreneurs may find it increasingly challenging to accomplish this goal because of their limited connections and potentially reduced ability to establish a great benefits package early on.One idea is to look beyond your geographical area and consider hiring remote workers. By doing so, you will reduce your overhead and can expand your search to include more talented individuals. In some markets, remote workers may have lower salary expectations, and this can work in your favor when you have a limited budget to work with. If you choose to hire remotely, create a job posting that specifically and clearly details the expectations and requirements for the position as well as what the individual’s daily responsibilities will be.
- Finding CustomersFinding customers is not usually easy for even mature and experienced entrepreneurs, but it can be more difficult for young entrepreneurs to do. For example, your limited financing may decrease your ability to reach customers through marketing efforts, and some customers may be uninterested in working with an unknown professional or a brand that they are not familiar with.While bigger and more established companies have clout and recognition, they also usually have more overhead. You may be able to improve your ability to get customers in your company’s early days by positioning your marketing message to indicate the value you provide through low rates and quality service.
About the author
Jen McKenzie is a freelance writer from New York, NY. She is fascinated by all things having to do with words, business, education and cutting-edge. When Jennifer is not busy writing, she enjoys taking long walks and spending time with her two pets Brando & Marlon. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie