A recent survey published by the National Centre for Social Research (RSA) rightly points out that generation Y entrepreneurs have stirred a boom in business spirit. The survey discovered that there has been increased entrepreneurialism among 20-29 year olds. In this cluttered marketplace, where each sector is becoming increasingly competitive and many businesses are offering similar quality and service, one may ask if Gen-Y entrepreneurs can front the charge, and help the economy to spring back from recession?
The boom in business spirit has been sparked by the key lessons young entrepreneurs have taken on whilst sailing through the credit crunch and looking for alternatives to traditional employment. In particular, they have used the psychology of business to motivate and empower themselves and their workforce. They have been forced to become highly collaborative, swift and alert when it comes to new opportunities, and hell-bent on achieving success in their business.
Taking a wider view of what really drives businesses is key. Whilst short term gains are important as well as the monetary rewards that come as a result, in order to take a company to the next level we have to look at a long term strategy. Every business experiences turbulent times at some point in its life cycle; the psychology behind business must be understood in order to thrive in these times.
Any successful entrepreneur has huge appetite and tolerance for risk, but surviving the credit crunch without a strong focus on the mind will make it very tough. For many young entrepreneurs the recession has actually been an excellent wake-up call, but only if they have been ready to control the meaning they are giving to the events that are happening in the economy.
In this era of struggle, a major part of success is derived by not only focusing on the mechanics of the business but more importantly the psychology of the entrepreneur. Of course, this needs to be followed up with practical actions and operating effective strategies within the business.
Young entrepreneurs need to train their mind to control the meaning they give to the challenges, setbacks and problems they experience in their business, economy and life in general. This formula has helped me deal with the worst effects of the problematic Irish property market and re-invent myself by setting up Martin Construction in London.
A captivating appetite to uncover the secrets of the greatest entrepreneurs’ and their business models for success during tough economic times led me on to taking a couple of business psychology courses. I also read many books that discussed the subject and decided to test if all the theory would actually work and help me decipher where I should take my own business.
What I learned and experienced radically changed my outlook. I started off by making a list of every positive thing that had come out of the credit crisis for me personally and my business. As I looked at the long list of points I started to feel very differently. The practical and realistic mantra of looking at the lessons that can be learnt from challenges left me feeling energised and enthused about my current position, excited about the opportunities available to me and ultimately shaped the action I took to get me to where I am today.
Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be discouraged by fear and should look past it to see things as they are, and should also have a vision of how they want to change things that aren’t going their way. In my personal experience, having had no formal education at university, the credit crunch has equipped me with invaluable skills that have helped me cope with the ever-changing business environment.
Over the past years, I have built mental agility personally and within our team. The rules of business have been re-written and entrepreneurs who have interacted with weak markets have been taught many lessons, which will be invaluable for the next part of their journey if they chose to look at it with a positive outlook.
At a Tony Robbins conference I attended, he said something, which has stayed with me to this day: “the quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty that you can comfortably live with.” No one is in favour of uncertainty, but having the ability to be able to remain strong when all hell has broken loose makes the difference in many cases between success and failure. If I hadn’t changed how I looked at business a few years ago, not only would the business not be where it is today, but I would have missed out on the last few years of fun I have had during the process.
I recently spoke at an event in London to approximately 150 people about how my business stayed resilient through the recession. Reflecting on this led me to reason that controlling what I focus on and the meaning I give to it coupled with being fearless, have contributed tremendously to my accomplishments to date. I’ve been lucky to experience both fantastic and weak markets. Whilst the weak market conditions have been challenging, I believe it has been more rewarding. I now know that if I can deal with the worst credit crisis in history, I can deal with anything else that is thrown at me in the years to come.
Desire to achieve has a big impact, and looking at business challenges in difficult times as a learning curve can not only teach invaluable lessons but also prepare budding entrepreneurs for any challenge in the future. It is certain that monetary reward isn’t the sole motivation for entrepreneurs; it is the thirst for achievement, growth and what can be created. In my personal experience, my need and desire for achievement has been closely connected with my positive outlook – always finding the best in everyone and every situation.
There is no better time than now for young entrepreneurs to enter the turf. The recession has drastically changed industries that were once closed to new players and has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs with a burning desire for success and a hunger for knowledge about their chosen sector.
We have had an education through this recession that has offered the opportunity to be very strategic about how we build businesses. We have become flexible to a tough economic climate, more prudent about how we spend our time and money and more in tune with what is happening in the global economy. This has allowed us to initiate strategies that will not only yield success for ourselves but lead us to a successful economic recovery in general.
My only advice is get crystal clear about your goal, take substantial action, notice what results your getting and adjust your approach accordingly whilst having complete confidence that at some point you’re going to hit success. A magic ingredient to add to this mix is not to take ‘no’ for an answer. Getting knocked down in business is all part of the process, but it’s important not to let emotion control you when this happens. Get strong, get excited and keep pushing.