As an accountant I’m keen to spot new business talent. Where better to look than within the new crop of entrepreneurs hidden amongst the 12 million millennials, living in the UK today?
Not everyone agrees with me. LinkedIn is peppered with articles branding millennials as easily distracted, obsessed with smartphones and lacking the ability to stick at anything.
Every generation is ‘misunderstood’ by the old guard. Every generation, however, has entrepreneurs that can monetise opportunities in the world they live in.
Consider long-haired Richard Branson, starting out in 1960s, working from a telephone box and despised by the grey suit and bowler hat brigade. At that time Branson was not following the rules applied in stuffy board rooms. Instead he ripped up the text books and revolutionised business for his generation. He is continuing to do so today with millions of followers on Twitter and LinkedIn.
As a father of two I’m keen to challenge the negative views about under 35s. Let me explain how millennial characteristics will engineer Entrepreneur 2.0 and should not be underestimated.
What shapes a millennial entrepreneur?
Millennials are fundamentally different from the over 35s. Growing up with the internet, low cost technology and social media. The Internet fundamentally shifted the way under 35s communicate, learn and work.
‘Millennials work for purpose not pay cheque’, Forbes
Born in the 1990s and the first to start paying tuition fees in England and Wales plus grants virtually disappeared in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Weighed down by debt and inflated house prices many graduates seek new ways to earn money or forge future happiness.
311,550 company directors under the age of 30 in 2017
Millennials are motivated more by experiences and memories than a steady 9-5 job. That’s why instead of applying for graduate training schemes more and more graduates choose to be their own boss.
As the cost of education and living expenses rise many school leavers are seeking alternative paths. Such as learning on the job and tapping into free online learning resources. Also supplementing their income with side hustles from the back room of their parents’ homes which turn into a global business success.
Entrepreneurial spirit expanded with platforms like EBay which democratised selling online. Thus spawning a new breed of money makers selling used goods or unwanted gifts for pure profit. Taking it to the next level, millennials championed selling arts, crafts and technical ideas online and turning them into viable businesses without prohibitive set up costs.
Another significant difference between over 35s and under is experience of growing up on social media. Millennials are inherently sociable. That means they are comfortable sharing thoughts, ideas and opinions. An alien concept to more repressed older generations. In the past a new business could waste vast sums of money on secretive focus groups and rafts of surveys and competitor analysis. Now a quick Google search or post on a forum and you get all the feedback you need.
To summarise here are 3 reasons why millennials make great entrepreneurs:
- Millennials can bring fresh ideas to traditional sectors – key to staying ahead of the business curve
- Confidently embrace technology – essential for low cost, fast business growth
- Comfortable networking and being social – a key component for successful business owners
If you’re looking to start up or take your business to the next level please do get in touch by email, on social media or go old school and pick up the phone. Call 0141 290 0262
Simon Murrison, CA