They always say that “it’s lonely at the top” and young business owners have to realize that starting a business is not generally a group effort and that it’s okay to feel like the only friend you have is yourself. There are of course inspiring role models, big names like Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Reed will automatically come to mind, but these celebrity entrepreneurs won’t be able to support your journey into business.
There are many challenges facing the startup community, especially for young entrepreneurs, however it is the actual lack of community for young entrepreneurs which is the greatest barrier and the feeling of not having enough support. Attending networking events and being the only twenty-something person present it’s easy to think that you are the least important person to talk to with a room filled with established community members.
Starting up can be a lonely journey and the age factor has proven to be an obstacle standing in the way of young businesspeople connecting with others. Learn more about some of these problem and possible solutions below.
The Problem: Lack of Community
- Feelings of Unimportance. A young professional with a new startup can quickly feel very unimportant in the company of other businesspeople who’ve been established for years. They may feel embarrassed about asking questions that others in the community probably found the answers to years ago.
- Intimidation and Discouragement. As beneficial as it can be to mix with experienced businesspeople, it can also be intimidating and discouraging. Seeing how far some of them have gone can shine the spotlight on how far a younger person still has to go.
- Growing Insecurity. It’s normal for the owner of a new startup to feel insecure from time to time. If they’re only able to meet up with individuals who have more experience, they may begin to question their practices and goals, leading to growing insecurity.
- Steeper Learning Curve. If a young professional feels too intimidated to ask others in the community for insight into the challenges they face, they’ll have a steeper learning curve to deal with.
The Solution: Develop Various Communities
- Starting a Community. When there aren’t any communities for young entrepreneurs in the area, individuals can use social media to connect with others in their area. This first step can be effective in setting up an initial community meeting where goals can be discussed, and steps can be taken to add to the group.
- Empowered by Network. Meeting with other young professionals to discuss goals can help increase feelings of empowerment. During community meetings, everyone can build momentum from the excitement of members’ accomplishments and growth.
- Positive Peer Pressure. Positive peer pressure is one of the greatest benefits of attending community meetings with other professionals of the same age range. Those who know you can succeed will nudge you to do so and hold you accountable.
- Greater Learning Opportunities. Feeling comfortable around other community members will encourage members to ask questions and take advantage of the experience and knowledge of others in the community. Greater opportunities to learn exist when people aren’t afraid to seek them out.
A Part of the Growth Process
Learning how to develop and maintain a community is part of the process of growing a startup business into something successful. The people a young businessperson networks with will have an important impact on the success of that person’s business. They can provide insight based on expertise, connect a person in need with another businessperson that can help, and brainstorm problems and solutions together. As individuals and their businesses grow, their networking communities are likely to grow along with them. The sense of community gained from this will prove, over time, to be more beneficial to the young entrepreneurs involved than they can imagine.
Lucy Harper is part of the writing team at www.touchpointdigital.co.uk, a specialist media and advertising agency.
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