Starting a senior position at a company – or starting your own – can be a daunting task for anyone, and more so when that person is young and relatively inexperienced.
Young business leaders have to work even harder to earn the respect of others, along with the trust of potential clients who might be uncertain about putting their faith in someone who appears green.
However, age and a lack of experience should not be an unconquerable barrier, especially when young business leaders have time on their side. So, here are seven tips that will help any aspiring business leaders get the respect that they deserve, after putting in the work.
This might seem obvious, but as a young business leader, you need to have a deep belief in yourself and your respective product, especially at such an early and vital stage in your careers or business.
When first starting out, young people may easily be swayed or discouraged by others that are considered experts in their field, leading to restrictions on creativity and innovation. Ultimately, it’s important to learn and consider the opinions raised by more experienced peers. However, being your own boss or being in a leadership position means you are ultimately responsible, and a strong gut feeling about a matter should not be discounted simply because a more established peer is saying otherwise.
Delving into the business world at a young age might seem like a disadvantage, but it also presents a crucial advantage: time.
Young business leaders have time on their hands, so instead of focusing on immediate success, you can instead turn to learning more about your field and the market in which you have entered, either from first-hand experience, or from the mentoring of others that have been through it all.
Rather than focusing on the respect that years of experience earns people, aspiring leaders should approach others with questions to advance their own development.
Necessary confidence and unnecessary arrogance are separated by a very thin line that young business leaders might end up blurring altogether.
It is important to understand the difference between the two. Overconfidence tends to exude arrogance and foster a perception of disrespect towards others, and so it is integral to truly listen and absorb, rather than do the talking.
One technique that can be utilised during meetings is to first listen to a discussion in full, before sharing any ideas. Being the last to speak also allows you to understand the relevant context, and also enables you to see from which angle it should be pursued.
This is an integral part of running a business that is often pushed aside to focus on other aspects.
Becoming the best at your respective trade on all fronts, including after-sales service, should be a top priority. Whether this means conducting extensive market research, improving you product or service offering, or simply treating customers according to best practices, young business leaders need to do as best as they can to deliver the ideal form of service.
The motivation to delve into business at such a young age is more often than not driven by a deep passion for that particular product or field.
Therefore, it is important for that passion to be reflected in the service that you are providing, in order to show both clients and colleagues that you are in it for the long run. That passion and excitement will undoubtedly result in a positive response from clients, colleagues, investors, and partners.
As an aspiring young business leader, you can prove your worth by challenging established leaders through tackling a problem that they have either disregarded or have not yet discovered.
Showing you are just as capable and knowledgeable as the more experienced leaders will ensure that you will be taken more seriously, and that you should not be underestimated.
Putting customers at the top of the priorities should be a must for any business leader, but it is often overlooked in favour of other targets.
For someone that is still starting out in their respective field, a focus on clients should not be overshadowed by other aims, since customers will take no care for age or experience as long as they feel acknowledged and valued.
Once clients take notice of a particular leader – whatever their age – and see them as the ideal one to go for, then competitors and other customers will also start to take them seriously.
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