With a massive, multi-generational assortment of entrepreneurs existing today, who are running everything from the small businesses in your neighborhood, to vast corporations, it means there are all kinds of business owners who each have their own knowledge and experience to teach.
To focus on two main categories of entrepreneurs, old-school owners who have been around for a while and owners from the new generation, these can both learn a thing or two from each other.
LESSONS FROM THE OLD GUARD
Customer service is paramount.
Old-school business owners generally took customer service to a degree that is not as familiar to the new generation. There have always been companies that provided terrible service, but in earlier generations, the emphasis was on going the extra mile for a customer.
In some cases, that would mean treating customers like family, and otherwise never stopping until they were satisfied, keeping them loyal to the business.
Serve the local community.
In a way, this hasn’t changed in the past few decades; there are still plenty of businesses that have established themselves in communities to take advantage of a thriving local economy.
The difference is that small businesses used to embed themselves in the community, integrating with the people in the neighborhood, or even with a larger surrounding city. The resulting social connection allowed businesses to carve out a fairly solid place to flourish.
Develop contacts through communication.
Many of those in the older generation are notoriously suspicious of communicating through social media and text message. These are actually great tools, and sometimes text messaging is absolutely necessary for today’s businesses; the point is the underlying intent.
Older business owners tend to prefer to speak directly with clients and colleagues in a conversation, which takes more time but again, it allows them to forge valuable connections with people.
LESSONS FROM THE NEW BREED
Embrace new technology.
The new generation of entrepreneurs is by no means afraid of utilizing new technologies of all kinds for their business, and in fact, seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that utilizing up-to-date technology is absolutely necessary to have a successful business.
You’ll be left behind if you don’t implement current technology because some of it becomes indispensable. You’ll leave money on the table, and your competitors will come pick it up for you.
Raise capital through crowdfunding.
A revolutionary phenomenon that has spread across our culture in the past decade or so, crowdfunding offers an alternative to conventional sources of funding.
While it primarily gave artists and creators of all kinds take on projects that they otherwise couldn’t without the extra money, crowdfunding also makes it possible to raise capital for a startup, and pretty much any other project under the sun. New entrepreneurs recognized this potential and have opened a variety of businesses using crowdfunding.
Utilize online marketing & ecommerce.
This might be the most important skillset of new entrepreneurs because, as we all know, a significant portion of business actually happens online.
Marketing and advertising are conducted using various platforms on the Internet; it’s where you interface with customers; and you may even run your entire business online with an ecommerce website. It’s imperative that old-school entrepreneurs learn and implement these tools.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.