The Entrepreneurial Slump

entrepreneurshipA recent Wall Street Journal article referenced the fact that among those age 35 and younger, the rate of entrepreneurs starting new businesses has declined precipitously. Less than 20% are actually starting new businesses and the rate has been declining for the last 20 years. That’s a very scary prospect for a country built on innovation and entrepreneurialism.

Why is this happening? There was not a clear answer in the article other than to say that the generation aged 25-40 didn’t seem to have the same motivation as previous generations to get out and take a risk. However, as we learned from Mary O’Hara Devereaux of Global Foresight at our December Speaker Series Event for CEO Global Network, help may be right around the corner with the next generation, “Generation Z.” They came of age after 9/11 and lived through the great recession. They know that a “job” does not provide any security whatsoever and that destiny is in their hands. They are more willing to innovate, more willing to take a chance on something as long as it’s meaningful for them, AND also contributes to the greater good. They are the next batch of entrepreneurs and they will stop the slide of those who came before them.

How can we help this new generation?

  • Encourage them to start something
  • Challenge them to think differently
  • Help them with loans
  • Teach them basic business principles that will lead them to start businesses
  • Help them learn to lead – mentor, coach and expose them to good leadership characteristics and practices

What I have learned through Peer Advisory over the years is that the best pieces of advice come from mentors and peers. A problem can always be solved through collective problem solving, (not blame), and innovation, (although the solution may look different than you first thought). The most common response I get when someone is being introduced to the peer advisory company I work with, CEO Global Network, is “I belong to a great industry group that provides a lot of help.” That’s terrific and shows that a leader is willing to get outside advice. However, in these types of associations you get a very industry specific perspective and not necessarily out of the box thinking and solutions.

Non-competitive peer advisory allows for sharing amongst disparate industries and that’s where the beauty lies. Ideas that will never come up in your industry group are brought to the table. Exposing our next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs to those doing it today is what will inspire and engage them for the future. Bring them into your business or pay their dues for participation in a group that will teach them leadership and business basics and watch where they go.

And, oh by the way, all of you working on goal setting for 2015? Your peers are the MOST accountable group of folks you might want to share those goals with – so why not consider checking it out? You’ll be glad you did.