5 Reasons Why Millennials Should Adopt Old School Business Practices

I can’t help but notice that the Millennial Generation is seeking out entrepreneurial types of jobs in the droves. Whether it’s a full-time business started with blood, sweat and tears or a part time business started with $99 and a catalog of soap, everyone is selling something these days {I’m not sure if I can emphasize that enough!} I log into Facebook and I know it’s in there somewhere buried under a newsfeed flooded with everyone I’ve ever met promoting their business. Conversely, people I’ve never met add me as a friend and I think, “oh that’s nice, they want to be friends,” and 30 seconds later I am getting a private message with a sales pitch. Yuck and delete.

A survey from Bentley University suggests that Millennials attribute career success to having the ability to be flexible, independent and entrepreneurial minded. Less and less Millennials are striving to work their way up the ranks at a 9-5. Rather they see themselves creating a job for themselves that allows freedom and flexibility to do what they want when they want. I am a Millennial and an entrepreneur and no amount of money in this world would ever convince me to go back to working a 9-5. Being an entrepreneur rocks, but I also have seen how Millennials are screwing up entrepreneurship by being too “Millennial.”

Being a Millennial is awesome, but we as a generation have lost touch with the human experience. As much as technology streamlines business and can help us reach bigger audiences, if you’re not a little old school you’re not going to stand out in a good way.

Create a Business Plan

Business 101 says that the very first thing you should do is create a business plan. Whether it is a 5-year plan or a 10-year plan you should decide on day 1 where you want to grow and how you will get there. Your should also decide what you want your brand to look like, develop a budget, organize your database and write up a job description for yourself. I find it helpful to time block my calendar so that I don’t fall victim to putting things off in leu of my personal life getting in the way. Treat your business like a business and it will run like a business.

Send Thank You Cards

Take a card, write something thoughtful and send it as a follow up to every meeting you take with someone. Whether it is catching up over lunch with a past client or after you pitched your business to a potential client, send a thank you card within a week of the meeting. Handwritten thank you cards are always appreciated and will make you stand out.

Meet Face to Face

If you have an existing client relationship that you’re trying to nurture or you’re trying to start one with a prospective client, take them out to lunch. Spamming people with emails or Facebook posts just doesn’t cut it and you’re likely to turn people off quickly if that’s all you do. Anyone can hit post or send, but not everyone will take the time to meet in person. Real people need real face-to-face time to determine if they feel valued and educated enough to do business with you. Friends do business with friends, so act like a friend and not a sales person and you’re already one step ahead of most people you’re in business with.

Pick Up the Phone

Hearing a real voice from time to time is important. It is even more important to make a call if you ever question that the tone of your email might be misunderstood or if you know you’re delivering a message that will be followed with lots of questions. I save voice-to-voice calls for time sensitive conversations or to break good or bad news. I save emails and text messages for updates and confirmations. Deciding when is a good time to call and when is a good time to email is key to maintaining good relationships with clients. Don’t be afraid to call and catch up with someone either. No one will ever be mad because you were calling to chat about life, but make sure to schedule a genuine face-to-face for the near future while you’re on the phone.

Be a Real Person on Social Media

People go on social media to connect with friends not to be spammed with sales pitches. I am a sales person and I am turned off by most sales people, especially sales people on social media. Just because it is easy to promote what you do, doesn’t mean it’s being received well. Here’s the thing, don’t be annoying. If you promote your business on social media, you probably are being annoying from time to time or possibly all the time. I was annoying on Facebook when I first started in Real Estate. I wanted everyone to see that I was busy, I was closing deals and I had made it in a business where people with longevity and success are few and far between. I posted every open house that I did and I shared every closing that I had with the intention of reminding people of what I do. The fact is that no one cared. People would rather see a picture of my foster puppy rather than a photo of my open house brochures laid neatly out on a kitchen counter {seriously, why do people still do that?} People would rather work with me because of our shared interests instead of how many {boastful and non-relatable} statements of success I put out there. Balance your promotional posts with personal ones and don’t jam your business down people’s throats. I guarantee that if you substituted the 40 testimonials and inspirational quotes you planned to post today with one original, genuine and meaningful piece of content that you created, you will attract tangible business. Choose your posts wisely, my friends.

Thanks for reading! To keep up with me day-to-day find me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram.

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