The Gen Z entrepreneur’s guide to starting a business

Editorial Team

5 min read
Gen Z entrepreneur looking at phone

Gen Z could be considered one of the most entrepreneurial generations of all time. According to a 2021 survey, about 60% of teenagers said that they’d prefer starting their own business over working as an employee or having a traditional job.

As for the Gen Zers that are working? Around 43% of them are already performing freelance and gig work according to a 2022 survey. The changing nature of the workforce, along with a global pandemic that forced a lot of young professionals to pursue gig work, has helped usher in a generation of future business leaders.

Starting a business is not easy, no matter what your age is. That said, Gen Z entrepreneurs can be uniquely positioned and qualified to start powerful and profitable small businesses in the modern economy.

Here’s a quick guide to starting a small business for Gen-Z entrepreneurs.

Consider the realities

If you’re going to start a small business, you’ll have to be really passionate about it. Maybe that sounds obvious, but it’s easy to forget in the day-to-day grind. Running your own business is going to take up way more of your time and energy than working for someone else, so you’ll want to make sure that your passion for what you’re pursuing is deep enough to sustain you through years of grueling work and uncertainty.

On the flip side, if you’re really passionate about what you’re pursuing, consider the implications of transitioning that passion into a real business. A lot of small businesses start as hobbies (making crafts and then selling them online, for example) and it’s worth asking yourself if your love for that hobby will survive the transition. Pursuing something in your free time is a lot different than pursuing it professionally, and if you’re not careful you could end up turning something you love into something that stresses you out at best, and leaves you financially drained at worst.

Identify your USP

Most Gen Zers already have skills that can make them powerful business owners. Social media, coding, photography, video editing, all of these things are super familiar to Gen Z and incredibly useful in both running and marketing a business. However, since most of Gen Z was raised on these skills, they don’t stand out like they used to. Sitting down and identifying which skills you are uniquely bringing to the table will help you and your business stand out among a crowd of other Gen Z entrepreneurs.

In business terms, this is called a “unique selling point,” or USP. It’s essentially the reason that customers are going to choose your business over any of your other competitors. Taking a look at your unique strengths or your ability to solve unique problems will help you identify a USP.

Research the competition

Once you’ve come up with a business idea, it’s time to look at who you’re going to end up competing with. What are you going to offer that these businesses don’t, or better yet, can’t? Can you offer products or services at a more competitive price point? Can you deliver something faster or at a higher quality than anyone else?

If you’re planning to open a brick-and-mortar location for your business, you’ll also need to research the local competition. Is your store too close to another store offering similar products or services? If so, how are you going to make sure that customers choose you instead of them?

Choose the right business model

Businesses come in lots of different shapes and sizes, and one of the first and most important decisions a business should make is what model you’re going to operate under. A business model is basically the method or methods you’re going to use to make money with your business idea.

Here’s a quick breakdown of some common small business models:

  • eCommerce: An eCommerce business sells products or services online through a website or mobile app. This model means you can operate almost anywhere in the world, but you could miss out on the unique benefits of having a physical location.
  • Brick-and-mortar: This involves owning a physical business that operates out of a storefront. A lot of the small businesses you love probably operate this way. Keep in mind, it may require a significant up-front cost to get one up and running.
  • Bricks and clicks: This is essentially the best of both worlds. Stores can offer a buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) option, or sell exclusive items for online purchase only.

Other small business models can include: subscription, software as a service (SaaS), business-to-business (B2B), and franchising, to name a few.

Be nimble

As a Gen Zer, you’ve already mastered the art of the pivot. Uncertain economic times, combined with a rapidly changing digital world means you’re always ready to change directions, master a new skill, or drop something that isn’t working out in favor of a new chapter. That mindset will serve you well as you get started running your business.

Once you have your idea solidified, you should be ready to make changes and deal with unexpected challenges on the fly. That doesn’t mean that your business should shift with every changing wind to the point where it loses its identity, rather that you as a business owner should be ready to duck and weave through the challenges you will inevitably face. Maybe your brick-and-mortar store is doing better online than in person. Maybe your customers fall in love with a product that you didn’t expect. Maybe one of your business’ TikToks goes viral and a swarm of new customers arrives at your door! The point is, no two days as a small business owner will be alike, and you’ll be served very well by your ability to be flexible, nimble, and solve problems on the fly.

Clover can help you get on the right path to starting a business. Our POS systems and business management solutions are designed to help you accept payments, sell more, and save time. Contact a Clover Business Consultant today to see how we can serve your unique business needs.


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