Here's what millennial business leaders can do to ensure a successful new year.
Millennials, it’s time to show us what you’ve got with your small businesses. This year, Chase for Business released a Spotlight on Millennial Business Leaders (MBLs), the millennial edition of their Small Business Leaders Outlook survey. This edition explores the world of small businesses powered by millennials, and the findings have been fascinating.
Once regarded as a novelty to hire in the workplace, millennials have now entered the 30-something bracket of their lives. As small business owners, they stand out because they’re tech-savvy, have high growth expectations (which their tech-savviness contributes toward) and are very optimistic. With small business optimism at record-breaking levels in 2018, you do have to wonder how much of that sentiment came from millennial entrepreneurs.
As the new year approaches, so does another year in business for millennials and their companies. It’s shaping up, in the words of Frank Sinatra, to be a very good year. However, it can be even better if millennials prep their small businesses for long-term success. Using the findings from this survey, here’s what millennials can take care of now to ensure their companies continue trending upward.
Partner or collaborate with like-minded businesses
According to the Spotlight on Millennial Business Leaders, 82 percent of millennial-led businesses expect to see an increase in their profits. This, ideally, would happen over the course of the next 12 months.
There are a variety of ways millennials can strategize this approach, from upping the price tags on their products to expanding their existing offerings. Another beneficial strategy is to consider collaborating or partnering with a like-minded business. These two approaches differ slightly from one another.
A collaboration may be a one-time only situation, or occur as needed. Take a small, successful business that specializes in high-end stationery. The business may need a bit of a sales boost. The organization notices a well-known lifestyle social media influencer, who also loves stationery and fits the business's overall brand aesthetic, follows them on Instagram. The small business may follow the influencer back, begin sending messages to the influencer to establish a rapport and attempt to collaborate on upcoming initiatives for an agreed-upon price. The influencer creates content that puts their own signature spin on the company’s products. This content promotes the influencer's social handles while tagging the company at the same time. This increases the amount of eyeballs viewing, and learning about, your business. As a result, the stationery business gains more awareness, traction, site traffic and potentially sales from its target audience.
A partnership is structured a little differently because it can be long-lasting. Listen to your customers to find out what they need. What does your business not offer that another like-minded organization does? Identify a business that offers what you need, and review its offerings to see if yours would be a fit. Reach out to see if the business would be interested in forming a mutually beneficial partnership that works for each business and benefits both sets of customers.
Get active on LinkedIn
Millennials, not surprisingly, enjoy being active on social media platforms. The survey revealed that 65 percent of millennial-led businesses find that social has had a positive impact on their business.
There’s a number of approaches MBLs can take in 2019 to keep their social media accounts thriving. My personal recommendation, and one I find works quite well for myself, is to reengage on LinkedIn. Don’t use the site to simply aggregate contacts. Share updates about your business. Comment on the posts your contacts share. Congratulate connections that take on new jobs or positions. And, whenever you’re able, write and publish articles. Share the stories of your successes, thoughts on trends within your industry or further explore topics you’re interested in. Being active on LinkedIn allows you to establish a stronger footprint within your industry and helps professionals that use it sporadically notice you as a business leader.
Find more opportunities to give back
Fifty-five percent of millennial-led businesses will prioritize a vendor that gives back to the community over one that does not. It’s not uncommon to see consumers today seeking out businesses that are transparent or authentic with their practices and beliefs. Consumers want to support businesses that share their values. The same can be said for businesses that want to work with vendors operating with similar values.
Most millennial-led business owners are well past the stage of creating mission statements. They’ve talked the talk. Now, it’s time to walk the walk. Being in business is about more than revenue and sales growth, especially for small business owners.
Make 2019 the year that your business gets involved with its community. Find ways to give back as a team. Support charities, volunteer at soup kitchens during the holidays, clean up highways or work with Habitat For Humanity. Teamwork, after all, does make the dream work.