Starting a business from scratch is no easy feat — especially for younger generations like Gen Z. A recent study conducted by GOBankingRates uncovered a significant hurdle: A lack of financial resources is holding back a whopping 44% of Americans from taking the plunge into small-business ownership. Among the younger cohort, 38% of those ages 18 to 24 are grappling with the challenge of limited funds. And even millennials aren’t immune, with a striking 45% of Americans ages 25 to 34 encountering roadblocks on the path to turning their business dreams into reality.
Keep reading to discover some expert advice for affordable ways Gen Z can navigate the business landscape, even if their wallets aren’t busting at the seams.
When funds are tight, it’s time to tap into your strengths — and for many Gen Zers, that means harnessing their tech-savviness — and using it to help legitimize their businesses in any way they can. A great place to start if you are interested in working in content creation and design spaces is freelancing.
“Gen Z are well positioned to become an entrepreneur by first tapping into digital marketing opportunities and freelance sites like Fiverr and Upwork,” said Liang Zhao, founder of Vansary, a public relations and marketing agency working with startups, venture capital firms and financial institutions. “Gen Z is majoritively tech savvy and understands the digital world, which makes for a great entry point into the likes of social media marketing, content creation and digital design. They can start freelancing and learn how to create a brand identity and engage with various audiences.”
Grants and Competitions
Many organizations and institutions offer grants, pitch competitions and business plan content created to help young dreamers kickstart their own businesses.
“Explore Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) for potential loans or grants,” said Michelle Fox, CEO at Ultimate Business Quest, a mobile app that provides entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to take their business from founding to funding to fortune. “These resources often provide financial support and guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs to kickstart their businesses.”
Remember to pick opportunities that align with your business values — that’s how you unlock their full potential.
Business Bank Loans
While you’re on the hunt for grants and competitions, don’t forget that banks are in the business of supporting small enterprises too. All you need is a solid pitch and a bit of research on the lending options available at your local banks. Interest rates might vary, but these financial institutions could give you the push you need.
“Research local banks and financial institutions that offer small business loans,” Fox said. “A well-structured business plan and demonstrating your commitment can increase your chances of securing a loan to fund your startup.”
4 Tips To Help You Get a Strong Start as an Entrepreneur
After attaining funding, the bootstrapping isn’t over. These tips can help you get your foot in the door as an entrepreneur.
Build an Online Presence
In a world where everything has gone digital, creating a strong online presence is an important part. If you want people to support your business and you are an entrepreneur, they need to know about it, and building a strong online presence is a great way to do just that.
“Establish a strong online presence through social media, a simple website and relevant online platforms,” Fox said. “Social media can be a cost-effective way to connect with your audience and promote your products or services.”
Sure, growing your follower count on Instagram is cool, but forging connections with fellow industry folks can take your business to a whole new level.
“Leverage your personal and professional networks to spread the word about your business,” Fox said. “Attend local events, workshops and meetups to meet potential customers, partners and mentors.”
Working with other businesses isn’t just savvy — it’s a chance to showcase your skills while joining forces to make a bigger impact.
Invest In Learning
Remember, growth comes from always learning. Luckily, you don’t need a huge budget for that. There are loads of free or low-cost resources out there that can help you level up without breaking the bank.
“Continuously educate yourself about your industry, business strategies and marketing techniques,” Fox said. “Numerous free or low-cost resources are available online, such as blogs, podcasts and online courses.”
Launching a business isn’t a one-person show, and you definitely don’t have to go it alone.
“Look for experienced mentors who can provide guidance, advice and insights based on their own entrepreneurial journey,” Fox said. “Their expertise can help you avoid common pitfalls and make informed decisions.”
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