Sonia Brown launched the National Black Women’s Network (NBWN) in 1999, to promote networking opportunities on behalf of women within the wider professional and business environment.
In 2008, Sonia launched www.sistatalk.co.uk an exciting corporate and social networking forum aimed at women looking to create a strong online professional presence and provides an extensive and useful resource for anyone serious about attracting the attention of who’s who in industry and business
Each month Sonia shares her thoughts and inspiration.
There’s something quite refreshing about the new breed of entrepreneurs and professionals emerging at the moment. Don’t get drawn into the media hysteria of hoodies, gangs, knife crime and under aged pregnancies. There is a movement bursting through who are young, dynamic, innovative and very hungry for SUCCESS.
I am turning up at meetings and beginning to feel like my mother when I am listening to girls younger than my niece inspiring me to get busy and do more to be successful! They have studied their craft, researched their market and are navigating through the complexities of starting and growing their own business; all without the help from banks.
This month I am talking to Careeta Robert Green, Director of Born With a Gift Coaching Consultancy and asking her to share her 3 top reasons why to dismiss these creative, dynamic twentysomethings is to do so at our peril……..
1. In the words of Les Brown “You got to be BOLD!”
I am seeing many more young people know what they want and they are not letting no one or a negative attitude stop them. They see the majority of older entrepreneurs are not coming up with anything new to stimulate or inspire them. So whilst we sit still and complain about the banks not lending, the Chancellor’s cuts and the state of the business sector – they are planning and working towards their first (of many) million’s. They are selling their brands to within an inch of their lives. They are extending their product range and service like they are part of P Diddy’s entourage (books, t-shirts, CDs) and I believe they have Facebook and YouTube to thank for this.
They don’t seem themselves as someone working from the spare room. They are GLOBAL!! They do their research and they know what is relevant and what is not. They are not going to waste their time trying to fix an ideology or model that has never worked for them, because they have created their own! To succeed at all costs!
“You have to step outside of your comfort zone and take the risk because you must believe that you can do the things you say you can do” say’s Careeta. “By being bold you are stepping into your greatness and doing the things that you said you could do.” Careeta explained that the biggest push for her was I didn’t believe in the 9-5 rat race. I believed I had the skills to run my own business because i felt inspired when i saw other young people were doing what i wanted to do, By using social media I was able to connect with them and it encouraged me to do what i wanted to do.”
“Without a doubt, being bold has reaped benefits” explained Careeta. “Having to speak in front of hundreds of people made me stronger because it reinforced that I could do anything I put my mind to once I found the internal courage.”
2. You have to network
While most of us are burning out, these young people are creating their own networks and are vigorously marketing and selling to them. With my work with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Regional Development Agencies, I found government support agencies had struggled to engage with key communities but our younger generation are taking advantage of these services in unprecedented numbers. Business Link London have reported that attendance at their meetings have doubled over the past year, and I believe young people are attending the traditional Business Links, Chamber of Commerce, women’s networks and other specialist events in greater numbers to make sure they meet the right people and the right people are meeting them.
“Bring your business card everywhere you go because you don’t know who you will meet” continues Careeta. “That person, who does not want to buy from you, may know others who do, so don’t dismiss them. By going to different types of business events you can meet different people so that my relationship web is constantly increasing simply because I am stepping out of my comfort zone.”
“In my experience, younger people depend on social media so you can build a relationship before you meet them” says Careeta. “The older generation need to have a more open attitude to networking through social media. Twitter is a great tool to link customers to their website; showcase their expertise and get up to date information about events and your sector. But you have to be careful that what you talk about is relevant because we are not all movie or rap stars. As long as you keep it related to your sector then people will contact and respect you more.”
3. Bridge the gap
Everywhere you turn, you hear the cry that the older generation just don’t understand the younger generation and the bridge is getting wider. This is not a good thing as we are losing out on creative ways to market our products and services and the younger people are losing the opportunity to learn from our experiences and benefit from some wise counsel.
Careeta believes that older people don’t take younger entrepreneurs seriously simply because we are young and have no ‘established’ credibility. “It’s important that the established business owners embrace our energy and passion, and then they will give us more respect” she says. “We are desperate to engage with established businesses in order to expand our skills and talents to be more successful. We need the knowledge that comes with experience.”
Careeta believes that the older business sector are still very conservative when it comes to business and are not embracing the new tools as quickly as the younger generation to propel themselves to greater success. “We have had the benefit of the ‘The Secret’ to show us that we can achieve our dreams and the only thing stopping us is ourselves and lack of action. So we say, don’t hang around with negative people. Mix with those who are going to inspire, encourage and empower you to be greater than you are today.”
Careeta believes that social media is an indispensible tool for success and is surprised by the number of older people who dismiss the benefits citing ‘too busy’ as the number one reason. “We can find our peers and competitors much more easily thanks to social media” continues Robert Green. “We can build relationships online and then meet up if we share the same values or are able to collaborate on projects. Twitter allows us to establish a positive reputation as a leader in our field if used correctly. Don’t tweet about things that have nothing to do with your brand or people will see you as frivolous and a lightweight!”
Careeta concludes that younger people need to understand the true principles of business that only comes with experience. “Established businesses can help the process by being more open to sharing their experience, achievements and knowledge rather than keeping it to themselves. All it means is that younger people have to work together in order to act on our dreams and fly.”
So I am sure you would agree with me that these new twentysomethings are ambitious, they are confident and they are going to be successful. They understand the value of maximising their brand irrespective of the labels that have kept our generation in entrepreneurial bondage for so many years. Careeta, like so many of the next generation coming up are the ones to watch because there is so much we can learn from them.
Let’s take time out and help support the next twentysomething success story.