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Three ways to fuel Gen Z's inner entrepreneur

by John Wheeler
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    Want to know something that’s even harder than marketing to Gen Z? Becoming an entrepreneur. Yet that’s precisely what 64 percent of Gen Z college students want to do with their lives, according to a joint study by Internships.com and Millennial Branding. And that’s not the half of it. According to another Gallup survey, 42 percent of them want to “invent something that changes the world.”

    Seriously, marketers. You think you’ve got it bad? Studies show us how 90 to 95 percent of all startups in America never amount to what they projected initially for themselves in terms of expectations. We know only a mere 75 percent of all venture-backed enterprises ever return any measurable profit to their investors. Indeed, the chances of anyone developing a company that becomes the next big eBay or Etsy are on par with the chances of anyone becoming a rockstar.

    But that doesn’t stop Gen Zers. Because they’re rockstars like that. And therein lies a lesson for marketers: By fostering Gen Z’s entrepreneurial spirit — by betting on them realizing their personal goals — we can win their loyalty as consumers of our own brands.

    Here are three actionable ways companies can help fuel Gen Z’s inner entrepreneur:

    1. Look internally for stories of entrepreneurship

    Whether you're a mega brand or a small business, you’re likely standing atop a goldmine of resources that can help Gen Zers fulfill their vision of becoming entrepreneurs. In a word, you’re standing atop the successes (and failures!) of your own company.  You can use those experiences to your advantage.  By sharing your lessons learned with Gen Z entrepreneurs, you'll find a built-in audience that is hungry for advice, and who will give you their attention in return.

    2. Turn these stories into inspirational moments

    Your business battle scars are valuable life lessons for Gen Z. A super-simple way to share these lessons is to turn them into content. Whether that means starting a podcast, writing a blog series or setting up a monthly or quarterly live video session to share these stories with budding entrepreneurs — that's really up to you.  Alternatively, encourage employees to take on non-profit work that gives back to students (think: Girls Who Code).  Either way, you'll be aiding them on their path to entrepreneurial success, and that's something they'll appreciate.

    3. Engage Gen Z with  inspirational stories, not  just product and promotions

    Whether large or small, most companies devote the vast majority of their energy to filling students' inboxes with product and promotional offers. Something to keep in mind if you really want to cut through the clutter is that above almost anything else, Gen Z is craves value and authenticity. By spending the time to share the business principles and core beliefs that matter most to your organization, you'll earn trust and credibility by showing — rather than more of the same old "telling". And in doing so, you'll actually matter more to Gen Z, too.  

      Download the report: Gen Z spending habits before and during COVID-19

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