Entrepreneurs are often so focused on establishing their businesses and making a name for themselves that leaving behind their legacy is not something at the forefront of their minds. But it’s important for big picture thinkers to do just that – have an idea of how their life’s work will continue to thrive after they step away from the effort.
When it comes to setting a good example for the next generation, there are quite a few things newbies can learn from older and more experienced generations of entrepreneurs. For Ashley Desjardins, President and Founder of The Homemade Organics Company in Calgary, Alberta, she runs her certified organic personal care and cleaning products business every day in a way she knows her children would be proud of. Through teaching valuable life lessons about success and failure, to making the most of the experience, she hopes her three-year-old son Luca takes away that possibilities and opportunities are at his fingertips.
“I want him to learn to pursue his dreams -- what he truly loves and is passionate about, and to never give up,” said Desjardins. “By watching me build and run the company, and by seeing me work extremely hard to achieve my goals, I hope that he is subconsciously developing a strong work ethic, too, and that he is learning that he can do anything that he puts his mind to by setting goals and working hard to achieve them.”
Along with learning that success is a reward of hard work, drive, and determination, the next generation may find it beneficial to adopt these other more traditional entrepreneurial approaches:
Networking is more valuable in person
New generations of entrepreneurs are used to relying on texting and digital communication. But nothing makes more of an impression with a potential client than linking a face to a name, and building a real relationship. Communication is a pillar for every entrepreneur, and it’s important to hone your skills in the areas of writing, verbalization, and speaking situations. As a new entrepreneur, if your comfort level is leading you to deal more and more via the digital world, consider joining a local Toastmasters organization. The group aims to help its members become confident public speakers and stronger leaders.
Patience is gold
It’s a shocking fact that many up and coming entrepreneurs aren’t aware of a time when there was no such thing as the Internet. Because of this expectation of instant gratification, requiring an immediate response from a client or partner isn’t a reality in today’s business world. The truth is, things rarely go according to schedule when you’re an entrepreneur, so patience is a virtue – and a must-have personality trait. Learning how to wait for things that are not within your control is crucial.
Know what should come first
Everyone, not only the next generation, can benefit from a few prioritization skills. Multi-taking has become such an elusive competency that recent studies have shown that barely anyone can do it well. Being able to juggle projects has always been a necessity, especially for entrepreneurs. Newbies in business may feel like they need to finish everything right away, a residual inkling coming from that instant gratification gene. Working on everything at once, no matter how big or small the task, can lead to running in circles and being unable to finish important jobs on time. Or, even worse, taking on too much can lead to finishing everything, but not as polished as it could be.
Rely on less
Technology is amazing, and we all know that entrepreneurs make advancements and achieve successes every day using it. But what seasoned generations know is not to let your startup be completely reliant on technology. If your whole operation shuts down when your web host schedules routine maintenance, or the team has to be sent home due to a Wi-Fi outage, you know that changes need to be made. Require some meetings to be face-to-face. Make sure there is dedicated space for whiteboard or paper-based brainstorming to take place. Being able to continue working in some capacity is what will keep you afloat if the power goes out.
Separate life from work
Although trends in business are making it simpler to work from any place in the world, strive to create some division between work and home life. Younger generations may be used to the constant barrage of notifications, emails, and meeting requests, but keeping your brain in work mode at all times is not healthy. Overexposure to smartphones and their constant connections can lead to sleep complications and anxiety. Do yourself a favour, give yourself a break, and put your phone into Do Not Disturb mode when you’re on off hours. While you’re at it, make sure to carve out some time to do things you enjoy that are not work related.
While Desjardins continues to build confidence in her son and inspire him to do what he loves, the best advice she can give to future generations of entrepreneurs is to strive to make a difference in our community and the world.