Most Millennial entrepreneurs haven’t been taken seriously at one point or another.
This is why I absolutely love seeing entrepreneurs in my generation thrive and succeed.
Throughout my career, I’ve often been the youngest person in the room. I’ve been warned before leading a training class at a Fortune 500 company that a lot of senior employees may not be inclined to hear what I have to say.
When scenarios like this happen, it doesn’t worry me.
As soon as I begin speaking, I know my experience will shine through — and I will gain the respect of everyone in the room. I am confident that I have the knowledge and expertise to back my words up.
I may look younger than other trainers and consultants, but I have the necessary experience. And I worked very hard to earn that experience.
It can be frustrating at times. But as time passes, I only add to my expertise and get even better at my delivery.
While we all have unique strengths, here are a few pieces of advice that every Millennial entrepreneur should hear.
1. Keep Your Eye on the Prize
We live in a world of distractions.
The multitude of digital distractions that surround us chip away at our attention spans. For entrepreneurs, getting distracted can lead to outright failure. It’s easy to get caught up thinking through every detail — and it can prevent you from putting out a minimum viable product.
Get your product or service out the door as soon as possible. Race towards your first dollar.
As an entrepreneur, it’s good to put together the infrastructure and look at bigger deals. But bigger deals take longer to make, and cash flow is important.
It’s okay to roll out a product or service early to get feedback, and then perfect it as you grow. Validate the market interest before spending months (or years) perfecting something that you haven’t yet confirmed the market wants.
Just don’t let the latest fad distract you from quick turnarounds.
2. Stay Consistent
You have to be consistent in your products, in your service, in your business.
It’s also much easier to stay consistent in your work if you practice consistency in every aspect of your life.
That doesn’t mean you should resistant change or stop looking for new ways to improve. It means working towards your goals steadily and efficiently.
The more you can systematize and document your consistent processes, the easier it will be to automate, delegate, or outsource repetitive tasks as you scale.
3. Know Your Industry and Your Numbers
Here’s an interesting exercise to see if you know your industry:
Pitch to someone who knows nothing about your industry. Then, listen to what kind of questions they ask. They’ll likely ask broad questions about what you just told them.
Questions that you might assume are self-explanatory.
How good are your answers? More importantly, can you simplify your explanation? Does the person understand the value of your product or service and know what differentiates you from competitors?
When you pitch an investor or a client, you have to know your business, your industry, and your numbers.
There’s no substitute for that knowledge. Believe me, people will know quickly if you don’t have it. It’s just like what Mr. Wonderful always says on Shark Tank, “You have to know your numbers.”
Go through the different aspects of your company from an investor’s perspective. That way, you’ll have answers in advance.
There’s a world of difference between an answer you give to an anticipated question and an answer you have to think up on the spot.
4. Be Agile
I wish I could drill “Be agile. Stay agile” into every Millennial entrepreneur’s mindset.
Don’t let old thinking constrain you.
Respond to change, work in shorter iterations, and release to market sooner.
Validate the interest in your product or service — and learn what customers value most in your features.
Here’s why this is essential:
Just the other day, a client called about a training class I used to teach. It had been awhile since I taught the class, and there had been so many updates in that industry’s practices. It would have taken me several weeks to shift my attention away from my current projects and create new content to meet the latest standards.
I couldn’t just tell them, “Sure, I’ll teach the class.”
Even though I didn’t have time to focus on updates, I didn’t end the conversation. Instead, I reached out to someone in my network that currently teaches the same class. I asked if we could collaborate and do a revenue share, so I could license that person’s material instead of creating my own from scratch.
Instead of saying no to a potential client, I made a strategic alliance that allowed me to say yes.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, I worked with someone who already had a focus in that area. That’s being agile.
And it’s important because you can’t be good at everything.
You just can’t. You may be good at several things, but you will eventually reach your limit. As long as you’re good at being agile, that will carry you through.
Fortunately, I think the agile mindset is something that Millennials tend to identify with. Millennials have grown up in an era with astounding advances in technology. We aren’t married to old assumptions and processes, because we’ve seen how quickly they can be replaced.
The agile mindset is part of our nature.
So, take that and run with it.
Have consistency. Keep pushing forward. Know your industry and your numbers. Be agile.
If you can do these things, you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to succeed as an entrepreneur.