Thinking Of Starting Your Own Business? Be Sure To Steer The Ship Away From These Icebergs!

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For many of us, especially the millennial generation, climbing the career ladder can be inherently frustrating. When young people emerge from the world of education and enter the world of work, they often find that the assumed truths on which they were raised wither under the lights of experience. The hard work and endeavor they’ve been conditioned to believe would live to success and fortune are barely enough to get them on the bottom rung. In an era where graduates outnumber vacancies, undergraduates are often being trained for jobs that don’t actually exist. Thus, bright and talented individuals can spend years wasting away in cubicles while their skills atrophy. Is it any wonder that entrepreneurship is an increasingly attractive to young people?

For a number of reasons, millennials make great entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, starting a business, even one with relatively low startup costs is a risky business. If you wish to set sail on the path of business ownership, be sure to steer the ship away from the following icebergs…

Lack of market research

When you have an idea for a business that you’re passionate and excited about, it’s easy to assume that everyone will share your passion. But even if your business mentors, business angels, prospective vendors and everyone else you show your business plan to get excited about your business… Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers will.

This is why your business plan needs to be backed by meticulous market research. The qualitative and quantitative data you glean from this can allow you to refine your idea to ensure that it resonates with your target market. If you don’t take the needs of your consumers into account, you can’t expect them to get excited about your brand.

Crippling startup costs

In a lot of ways, applying for startup funding is like applying for a mortgage. Just because you can borrow a certain amount doesn’t mean you should. Securing business startup funding can be tricky and if you are allowed to borrow a large amount you may well be tempted to go for the maximum possible amount you can for the betterment of your business. But this can hobble your new startup with debt.

The repayments and interest rates can place a stranglehold on your cash flow, meaning that it can take years for your business to become profitable.

Under investing

While new entrepreneurs do well to be conscious of the purse strings, they should also be wary of under investing. Under investment in your business can curtail the quality of your products or services and make your life a whole lot harder. If you under invest in outsourced help, you can find yourself doing too much by yourself  and this is a recipe for burnout.

Don’t be afraid to invest in managed IT services like https://www.arnettechnologies.com/ as these are usually much cheaper than managing your own IT infrastructure. Likewise outsourced HR and digital marketing can also generate significant returns on your investment.

Assuming your customers’ loyalty

Finally, as dangerous as it is to assume “if you build it they will come”, it’s even more dangerous to assume that they will come back. It costs a great deal more to attract a new customer than to retain existing customers. Make sure that you offer a rewards system or loyalty scheme that incentivizes customers to return to you rather than taking a chance on your competitors.

How Do Millennials Build Communities?

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The world seems to be becoming more and more fragmented. For all that the internet has allowed people even greater access to each other, this has lead to many small groups being formed rather than one large one. It’s ironic that while many people are part of several online communities, they don’t even say hi to their neighbors.

But this doesn’t mean that millennials are necessarily bad at forming communities. In fact, the opposite is true. Interconnectivity means that millennials are perfectly capable of finding people and bonding with them whether this is a small group with a niche interest or literally millions of people around the world with a common goal.

Bringing a Building Together

We often lament the loss of local community spirit but the truth is that millennials are just as capable of meeting their neighbors as anyone else. They just tend to go about it in a different way. While saying hi to a stranger in the corridor might feel a bit odd to a millennial, joining a Facebook group for the building and getting to know people that way is quite popular.

Facebook groups for neighbors and communities are great spaces to share ideas for improving the building (as can be found here) and get to know each other better. You can also set up events and fundraise for various projects such as planters for communal areas. As people get used to seeing each other online, they are much more likely to talk to each other in person. This might seem backwards but hey, that’s the digital age for you.

Forming Social Groups

Millennials are all about forming social groups though they don’t go about it in the same way that previous generations have. For example, the local church is mostly out while fitness classes are very much in. Rather than bonding with the people immediately around them, millennials are much more likely to travel to find others who share the same interests.

Building a community this way is great as it is clearly contributing to the fitness of a whole generation. However, this kind of group only works if it gets people out of their homes and doing something active. Social media is a great platform for getting things set up, but millennials show that they still need to meet real people too.

Tackling Issues at Home

Unlike generations before them, millennials are having to deal with significant social and environmental issues. Though society may seem fragmented, the gravity of environmental and climate change is bringing more and more people together and protests around the world were lead by this generation. And it’s not just millennials. Young people are reaching out to older generations to help them tackle social issues too.

Though their communities don’t look the same as previous generations, millennials show that community spirit is still alive and well in the 21st century. Rather than having a single local community, millennials are building multiple communities for themselves on a micro and macro scale.

Your Business Needs To Understand Its Technology Better!

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There’s no denying that we live in a world almost entirely dominated by technology. The truth is that technology has changed almost every aspect of society. It’s changed the way we shop, the way we consume media and even the way that we communicate with one another. Of course, if there’s one part of society that technology has changed more than just about any other, it’s almost certainly the world of business. The truth is that the business world looks almost entirely different from the way that it did even a decade or so ago. If your business doesn’t embrace technology in a fundamental way then it’s almost certainly going to end up falling behind the competition and being left in the dust. However, that’s not the end of it. If you assume that just having technology as a part of your business is going to guarantee your success then you’re sorely mistaken. The truth is that you need to be able to understand your business’s technology and know how to use it as effectively as possible. Otherwise, it’s just going to end up being a drain on time, money, and resources. Luckily, there are ways to avoid letting that happen. With that in mind, here are some ways to better understand the technology in your business.

Employee training

If there’s one mistake that a lot of business owners make over and over when it comes to bringing in new technology, it’s that they forget that technology is merely a tool and that without human beings, it’s basically useless. If you’re going to make the most of the technology in your business then you need to make sure that all of your employees know how it works and how to make the most of it as well. This means you need to provide them with adequate amounts of training. Sure, that might take time and money but it’s nothing compared to the time and money you could end up wasting if things are going wrong because your employees have no idea how any of the technology in your business actually works.

Outside assistance

Of course, when it comes to dealing with the technology in your business, you’re not necessarily going to be the perfect person for that job. After all, as amazing a business owner as you might be, you’re not necessarily going to be a tech wizard. Because of that, you might want to consider outsourcing elements of the technology in your business to other companies. A company light Throttlenet IT Solutions can offer you the kind of help and support in terms of your IT infrastructure that can make your life a whole lot easier. The same goes for things like using the internet in your marketing. Working with a dedicated web marketing team is going to allow you to take advantage of an entirely different marketplace than your business may have previously explored.

The needs of your business

There’s no denying that technology is pretty much essential for the health and well-being of any business. But that doesn’t mean that all businesses are going to have the same technological requirements. The truth is that every business is unique and that means that it’s going to have unique needs. Think carefully about what those needs are and how you’re going to be able to solve the problems in your business with technology. If your business is based on the web then you’re not going to need huge amounts of manufacturing tech, but if you’re running a warehouse then you’re probably not going to need lots of complex coding software on your computers. Think about the needs of your business and do whatever you can to lean into them whenever possible. Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting money and resources on tech that you simply don’t need and that will only lead your business to feel bloated.

The changing times

One of the hardest things about trying to keep your business competitive in the modern world is the fact that the world is constantly moving at an incredibly fast pace. In fact, every year things seem to be moving faster and faster because they are. New developments in the world of tech are appearing all the time and if you’re not able to keep up then the only possible result is that you get left behind. Because of that, you need to make sure that you’re keeping up with as many new developments in the world of business tech as possible to keep your business on the cutting edge. Make sure that you subscribe to tech magazines and that you browse tech blogs as frequently as possible. The last thing you want is to find out about a perfect technological advancement that can help your business by seeing your competition using it in order to pull ahead of you.

Your demographics

Of course, no matter how important technology is to the world around us, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be just as important to everyone. The truth is that different groups of people respond to technology in different ways. The Millennial generation treats technology as an indispensable part of their everyday life. They are glued to their phones and do pretty much everything through technology. Because of that, you’re going to want everything from your marketing strategies to your customer service to be heavily text focused. Things like social media and online help desks are going to resonate incredibly strongly with this demographic. However, older generations who are somewhat suspicious of technology are going to prefer a more old-school approach. Things like traditional marketing techniques and telephone customer service lines are going to be vastly preferred by an older demographic.

The size of your business

Another thing that you need to take into account when it comes to bringing technology into your business is the size and scope of your business as a whole. After all, if you’re bringing in software and technology that’s designed to help a small startup when you’re several levels ahead of that stage, then it’s not really going to do you that much good. By the same token, a small, new business is not going to benefit from much of the technology designed to improve the workflow of huge companies. Make sure that you keep your business’s size in mind when considering what its technical needs are.

Your budget

You also need to carefully consider the kind of budget that you’re working with. You might have some technology in mind that you consider to be totally essential for your business, but if you can’t afford it, then it’s best to put it out of your mind until you can. If you try and bring technology into your business with the hope that the improvements it makes to your business will result in enough revenue to pay for it, you’re putting yourself in a seriously dangerous position. If it doesn’t end up paying for itself, you could end up putting your business in serious debt, which is the kind of thing that can snowball incredibly quickly.

Now, you might be of the opinion that your business doesn’t need technology. This is particularly common in older businesses. And that makes sense to a certain degree. After all, if your business has survived for this long without the need for technology, why would it need to change now? However, it’s important to really understand just how different the world is to the world of a few short years ago. You don’t need to totally change your business to fit the modern, tech-dominated world. Instead, think about how technology and modern advances can help you improve upon the foundation that you have already laid in your business up until now.

Millennials: The Argument For Separate Training

millennials

There’s been talk in HR circles that one of the most overrated and unnecessary training a company can do is for Millennials.

I understand the stance that people are people and what Millennials want: meaningful work, perks and work-life balance is what other generations want, but that misses the point.  Here’s why:

If current training programs are “doing the job,” why are Millennials leaving companies at a record pace?

Contrary to popular belief, Millennial training programs are not a threat to HR departments. Instead they are specialized bonus.

Think about it. From a Millennial worker’s perspective, the relationship with HR is one of cautious skepticism. Yes, HR is there for the employee’s benefit/rights, but it’s also HR’s primary function to protect the company it represents.

Knowing that, Millennial workers may take advice from HR with a grain of salt.

The definition of loyalty has changed. Millennials are loyal to people, not companies. That means if an outside trainer/consultant comes in and relates to younger workers better than current supervisors, both sides win. Most managers spend 50% of their time dealing with interpersonal conflict. Imagine how much time and money is saved when delegating leadership development.

Ultimately the goal is retention. It’s much more expensive to recruit, interview, hire, train, then fire an employee opposed to maintaining a strong career development program. Investing in Millennials produces better results and happier workers. The greatest lasting reward you can offer your younger employees is feeling: valued/appreciated. You can’t put a price tag on that.

Lastly, training Millennials is like marketing to them. You first have to understand what they want in order to reach them. The same dynamic happens in professional sports. Coaches who don’t relate to players can never get the desired results. Who the information is coming from is as important as what is being said. Millennials are unfiltered, which can be perceived as unprofessional, but truthful feedback is received well once genuine trust and care has been established.

Training Millennials is an art. This doesn’t mean HR can’t do it, but it’s time consuming and challenging. As much as Millennials love to collaborate, they prefer to do it amongst themselves. Clump them with the rest of the group and they’ll tune you out.

Scott Asai is a speaker/coach that has been developing leaders for 20+ years – athletes, companies and individuals. His focus is helping people develop leadership skills to advance in their careers. Scott tends to attract a large audience of Millennials and Introverts to his programs/events. His professional background consists of: B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach.