4 Lessons For Young Entrepreneurs : Under30CEO 4 Lessons For Young Entrepreneurs : Under30CEO
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4 Lessons For Young Entrepreneurs

| September 22, 2013 | 3 Comments

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Doesn’t it just kill ya?  Here you are, you know your stuff, you’ve got 5-10 years of experience and a track record of results to prove it and still, you just know that some potential clients are simply not taking you seriously.

Well, I feel your pain and not because I’m in the same boat as you (Mmm, my “kids” are 26 and 29 so that gives you some idea!) but because once upon a time I too was in my twenties and starting a business and wanted, no needed, to win clients of all ages.

27 years later and I am still running that very same business and people no longer consider me “too young” to take seriously.  Now that I’m the one getting pitched by the “younger” generation I know what works…and what doesn’t…for all of us that have “been there, done that.”

Here’s a little roadmap. Sure it might seem to be common sense but trust me, it isn’t:

Just because we’re older, doesn’t mean we’re clueless about technology.

Don’t make assumptions that we’re not able to open files, download documents and handle life in the digital space. I was recently pitched by a financial advisor that asked me if I was online. (REALLY? I guess they never looked online and learned that I actually do training on social media!)

You might have lots of good experience but recognize that someone 10, 15, 20 years your senior will have more!

Sure they might not have experience in your specific field but they have life and business experience gained through their years and it should be acknowledged appropriately.  There is nothing more galling than being pitched by a young person that is crowing about the scope of their experience yet forgetting that it is not “all about them” but all about the potential client! Stop going on and on about yourself; it just makes you look and sound insecure!

Be real.

You’re 25 and unless you jumped into the workforce at 10 there is only so much that you could have accomplished by this point. Understand that I am not minimizing your successes and track record. It’s just that we (older people) start to glaze over when the list goes on for too long and your credibility, well, that goes out the window too.

Speak like an adult…or maybe I mean an “older” adult.

I’ve been pitched by 20 somethings that slip up and say wazzup and then quickly counter with a more business appropriate statement.  That’s fine but the damage is done. In any sales situation you always want to be speaking in the same vernacular as your prospect. Remember that you are trying to make a good impression and persuade someone to buy or take action of some sort. You’re NOT looking for a new BFF or best bud.

What more can I say?  Enjoy this time. The years go by quickly and pretty soon there will be younger newbies pitching you. Trust me. It happens very fast!

Adrian Miller is a business strategist, author and sales consultant. As President and Founder of Adrian Miller SalesTraining she has worked with thousands of companies and individuals looking to expand their business and market share. She can be reached at amiller@adrianmiller.com.

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Category: Entrepreneurship, Personal Branding, Startup Advice

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    I agree with your last tip.We have to show them that we are mature enough to handle things.Getting started as an entrepreneur can be an exciting, and at times scary, thought for young people.While nothing builds trust faster than delivering results, nothing destroys it faster than a failure of integrity.

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  • Chris Taylor

    Thanks Adrian! I feel like many people my age (23) feel like they need to “prove themselves” in order for older folks to take them seriously. Is there a fine line between being taken seriously and losing your credibility when trying to impress an accomplished business person?