Millennials are given advice every day by various online agencies that we have cited as experts in the field. Ok, maybe not experts but a damn good read. Wired, Business Insider, Notable, and so many more offer such success stories that budding entrepreneurs read and memorize to make us feel encouraged to become leaders in our own right.
But wait when we read these articles, do we really learn anything from them?
I love how easy it is to give advice. As long as you’re in front of a camera, or have a decent group of followers people will hang on to your every word. Fame and online presence hold more tenure than education or experience. I’m not discounting how certain online notables have been able to put ideas into practice - the online social forum is amazing for that. However, what I am discounting is an automatic trust of content publishers because of this. If it’s click bait, it’s got to be good.
Hence, welcome the rise of the microfame. Issues pulling and pushing their way through from sharable content and the problems dujour that we want to prove our goodness with by showing shared support by writing an outraged status on Facebook. It’s easy, and it seems productive. That’s how our social support works: we find something we like, and we get behind it.
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The massive problem with this, is that when it comes to entrepreneurial exercises, everyone has the ability to create something. Ecommerce drives a huge potential for many exciting new businesses; and that gives room for many local brick and mortar appendages of such businesses to grow. We saw the boom of Uber, growing from a small ride share app to a hotly debated and now internationally controversial shift in the dynamic of employment. We see these awesome catalysts in our faces. The downside: it’s all uniquely crafted to make the reader feel good or impassioned when the article is done.
Guys, this is not a way to get rolling.
We all want to be the next CEO of some silicon valley jewel. From what we see online this what you have to do:
- You build on a product.
- You find some funding via Kickstarter or VCs.
- You grow to find an office.
- You make millions of dollars.
- Retire and travel the world.
It’s just super easy.
But what I find with those people venturing on their own is that so many of the millennial generation (including me) aren’t prepared for those boring traditional business ups and downs. Freelancers to retail owners the idea persists that “if I build it, they will come.” While, yes, we are connected in a new way that brings us closer to millions of customers worldwide, we need a reality check, badly, like a slap to the face. But unlike all those millennial experts – who have had a huge hand up via parents or behind the scene benefactors – the general population doesn’t see (or prefers not to read) about the horrible issues that daunt even the biggest companies in the world when they’re growing.
Teens are now opening stores and getting into the business game young, knowing that post secondary education doesn’t always secure jobs. But this comes at a cost. They find a niche and open a store. They get funding from parents or a possible benefactor. That’s awesome. But they lack understanding of a huge factor in how the economic plays out.
An idea is great, but in business, failure is a learning experience. Through failure, you’re supposed to learn how to alter behaviours to do better. Few small business owners think about expanding beyond what they like or know. This is damning. A business owner needs to constantly be thinking in terms of how things should improve and change. What worked before, might not work in a year, or even 6 months. How do we alter our plans?
Well, if everyone who opened a business knew everything about the basic market functions of their industry, fluctuations, new products and trends, every business would do swimmingly. Unfortunately, most small businesses open because of a trend, and fail when the novelty has worn off (remember those damned cupcakes?!?). Businesses get funding and dreams are realized in the short term, but few prepare for the long term.
We need to change this.
If you want to go into business for yourself, educate yourself on basic business necessities like market research, and product longevity.
And, remember, marketing isn’t done just on Facebook - it has to be a boots to the ground approach that requires a lot of man hours and yes, money as well.
In coming articles I’ll be going over basic business stuff to help others who are looking to get into the wild world of entrepreneurial endeavours. My advice will be honest and won’t coming from a multimillionaire – I’m busting my butt as hard as you are. And though, no I’m not retiring at 30, I want to help others to succeed by using the failures I’ve experienced myself to help you, and me, learn.
Not everyone can go to a top business school, and these days there’s lots of free advice. But relying on click bait for business sense is, at the end of the day, stupid.