When the global economy is still trying to recuperate from recent years of recession and baby boomers and Gen X are struggling to move up the ladder in cash-strapped corporates, generation Y is all set to make their own fortune in innovative ways.
But one of the biggest struggles for the Gen Y entrepreneurs is to be taken seriously by investors and customers alike. In fact, most investors, consumers and business professionals believe young entrepreneurs to be amateur leaders just trying to live their impractical dreams.
On the contrary, there are many young entrepreneurs who are filled in with innovative ideas, fresh thinking and the can-do spirit! But the real question is how do they get others to believe in them and their business idea?
If you too are a Gen Y entrepreneur at the helm of a startup in the business world, skim through these seven ways that are just-the-ticket to make everyone take your and your business seriously:
1. Write a Business Plan
Entrepreneur.com reveals that business plan is an essential tool that helps you understand how your business is put together. Writing out your business plan clearly sets everything at once: your mission, goals, value proposition, marketing strategy, financial plans, staffing plan, your niche market and the purpose of your business.
A business plan helps you understand where you are, where you want to be and what challenges you will face to get where you want to be. And of course, a well-written business plan is very important if you’re seeking to raise funds through banks and investors. Remember, no one will take you seriously if you can’t communicate this well to your investors, vendors, distributors, employees and consumers.
2. Get Professional Graphic Designs
It makes sense to carefully mull over how you want your potential consumers to perceive your brand. Everything that represents your business must exude your brand message. And to give your brand the boost it needs and attract sales, you’ll want to market your product or service through professional graphic designs.
You’ll need a professional logo that shares your drive and vision. A user-friendly website for sure! Icons that you can use to build awareness for your brand, those are important too. And for all these, you’ll need to hire a reputable design firm. But what do you do when you don’t really have the shekels to pay for bulging budgets of graphic design agencies? With custom design crowdsourcing platforms such as Designhill, you won’t have to worry. Just sign up and you’ll get the best logos, business cards, web designs and much more to take your business off the ground, at a price that fits your budget.
3. Get Acquainted With Legal Mumbo Jumbo
It makes sense to get a little acquainted with legal mumbo jumbo in order to get your business off the ground. Remember to get your company registered with your state’s Secretary of State. Don’t forget to get the EIN for your company. Don’t worry, it’s free and you can get it easily at IRS.gov.
So, if you’ve already put up a company, do well to get a business bank account. Remember to distinguish your personal expenses from your business expenses. After all, your business is your dream venture and you can’t take risks. Seek out proper business insurance if necessary.
To avoid the most common entrepreneurial tax headaches, it’s smart to keep 25-30% of your profits safe to pay taxes at the end of the financial year. And if tax planning is not your cup of tea, Forbes magazine suggests you to hire a CPA and get advice about how to do the tax planning for your business.
4. Discover a Good Mentor
Forbes explains in one of its articles that many young entrepreneurs struggle to succeed because they don’t really have a good mentor to guide them. In fact, a lot of generation Y entrepreneurs fail to recognize the true value of having a good mentor, and it’s a shame as mentoring matters the most in the business world. Remember a good mentor can bring in a lot of positive differences for your business in very tangible ways.
Be it your friend, ex-boss, or a family member; do well to find a mentor who has walked in your shoes before. Not only can a mentor offer valuable advice and suggestions, they can also provide access to valuable contacts and resources that you might not have known about. If you can’t pinpoint a mentor, there are loads of free, easy-to-use services that connect entrepreneurs with volunteer mentors in order to build businesses together.
5. Be Heedful of the Cash Flow
Entrepreneur.com says that it's absolutely vital to promptly set up a stable flow of cash that is, the cash coming as profit over and above all of your expenses. It is perhaps one of the best ways to show that you are serious about your business and are more than capable to manage a smooth inflow and outflow of your company cash. In addition, it is important to look for ways to keep your costs low.
To gain trust of your consumers, it makes sense to devise a payment policy. This also helps you get paid in a timely fashion for your services/products. Utilize technology and resources around you to keep the operating costs low. Remember, at the age of 21, Steve Jobs co-founded Apple computers from his parents' garage. Also, make use of social media to advertise your products/services, connect with prospects and consumers and create a buzz around your brand, without paying through your nose.
6. Raise Funds for Your Business
Getting investors to finance comes as one of the greatest challenges for generation Y entrepreneurs. Even the banks are usually reluctant of financing young entrepreneurs without a credit history or a comprehensive career history. But with a little pre-planning and a well-written business plan, you can make investors take you seriously and invest in your business.
Here’s a little list of some options for entrepreneurs looking to raise funds to get their business off the ground:
- Peer-to-Peer Lending
Entrepreneur.com reveals that the best ways to raise funds for your business is to pull together small amounts in succession rather than trying to get a huge lump of capital when raising money from investors.
7. Dress To Impress
Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, reveals that people often judge you basis your looks. It goes without saying? In an article from the Entrepreneur.com, writer Adam Toren advises that young entrepreneurs often need to get over the preconceived notion that teenagers are mostly careless lot. So, it is vital to ensure that your looks and your language reflect the fact that you're serious about your business whenever you meet customers, investors or mentors.
Even when you are communicating through emails, it makes sense to use the spell check feature and try to limit the use of abbreviations and slangs. If you're polite, professional and knowledgeable with your words and looks, your mentors, customers and investors are sure to take you seriously.
So, if you’re already at the helm of starting your own business, remember that people are not going to take you seriously until you’ve paid your dues. So, work hard, put your best foot forward each time, and try to be useful for your investors, mentors and consumers. Once you show that you’re useful and valuable unlike others, you’re sure to catch the world’s fancy.