Study shows half of millennials are planning to start a business in the next three years
America's Small Business Development Centers (America's SBDC) has partnered with the Center for Generational Kinetics to better understand how different generations view and approach entrepreneurship. The study has reinforced previously held beliefs such as a strong entrepreneurial inclination among millennials, while challenging preconceived notions about their motivations for starting a business.
Small Businesses play a huge role in the lives of Americans. One third of Americans (34 percent), have worked in a small business in the past and nearly a quarter (24 percent) of both Millennials and Gen X own or have owned a small business.
Charles "Tee" Rowe, President of America's SBDC said, "We were excited to embark on this important study to better understand how Americans across different generations are drawn to entrepreneurship and could not be more excited about the survey's results."
"It is clear that the entrepreneurial spirit is not only alive and well in America, but that people are eager to find help to build their dream business. We at America's SBDCs could not be more ecstatic or well positioned to help them grow with our nearly 1,000 locations across the country filled with dedicated professionals."
Administered to 1,011 US adults ages 21-65, the study found that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well, with 41 percent of Americans saying they would quit their job and start a business in the next six months if they had the tools and resources they needed. This number is higher for millennials, with 59 percent stating that they would be willing to take the entrepreneurial leap in the next six months with the right tools and resources.
All generations surveyed lived through the great recession, yet seemingly this hasn't dampened entrepreneurial willingness for most. The study cites that 62 percent of Americans have a dream business in mind that they would love to start, and close to half (49 percent) of millennials, intend to start their own business in the next three years.
Reasons for millennials to start their own business?
Wealth creation was the number one rated catalyst to start a small business, according to the study. 47 percent of Americans listed the potential to make money as what would motivate those most to start their own business. The appeal of being your own boss is also a strong factor, with 40 percent of Americans listing it as their motivation, and 61 percent believe the best job security to be from running their own business. However, whilst there is a perception that millennials are, most interested in their work being fun, the survey reveals that 62 percent would rather have a business that makes a lot of money than a business that is a lot of fun.
Money was cited as the most limiting factor in entrepreneurship, with 55 percent of Americans rating access to money as the most difficult aspect of starting a business, with 45 percent stating access to capital is the biggest barrier to starting a business. When broken down by gender, women feel more challenged by this barrier, with 63 percent saying access to money is a barrier.
The lack of knowledge and small business savvy is another roadblock. Over half (61 percent), say they would be encouraged to start a small business if they knew where to go for help, with 51 percent stating they would want help with a business development plan. Even more striking, more than 13 million millennials cite not knowing where to go for help to start or run a business as the number one reason that keeps them from starting their own business. The study aims to raise awareness for millennials who have adapted an entrepreneurial mindset and wish to move forward with their ambitions.
New ways of working
Millennials have become the most adaptable with the entrance of social media, digital channels and services, which have enabled businesses to communicate and deliver services efficiently. Twitter has become the prime social media network for world leaders, governments and businesses, according to a recent study, with President Trump becoming an avid user of the social network, accumulating over 30,000,000 followers worldwide. Facebook is also used avidly used across the world, with the majority of governments and council members having platforms on the site.
The social media platforms have enabled businesses to gain a greater understanding to consumer demands, interact with customers and deliver more personalised services. Millennials have grown up viewing how technology has transformed traditional business models, such as Microsoft, who have had to compete against start-ups which have become multinational, such as Apple. With this in mind, it is easy to see how the millennial generation are keen to take on the challenge of becoming their own boss, influenced by young billionaires, such as Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. It will be interesting to see how millennials will continue to be influenced within the corporate world and rise to these challenges.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.