10 Leadership Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

Millennials have become known for their desire for instant gratification. This is especially true in their careers: Instead of waiting around for that big promotion, young professionals are increasingly choosing to create their own executive positions by becoming entrepreneurs. While they may have the requisite passion and drive, Gen Y’s age and lack of experience may mean they require a little more guidance in the leadership department. Ten business leaders, many of whom founded companies or rose to leadership positions at a young age, offered their words of wisdom for today’s generation of entrepreneurs.

Work hard to get ahead. “I have learned that success may come as a result of two things. One is luck and one is hard work. I chose the latter. Hard work and self-discipline are a common denominator between most business leaders, which proves that when you think you are working too hard, you are probably right, but it is also the reason you are where you are.” – Amit Kleinberger, CEO of Menchie’s frozen yogurt franchise

Strive for success, but remain humble. “First and foremost, any young founder must have an insatiable hunger for success and winning — and be resolutely prepared to work your a** off, as your competition most certainly will. Most importantly, stay humble and listen. Your team absolutely needs to understand that you’re predictably calm and composed for them to flourish.” – Jon Sebastiani, founder and CEO of Krave Jerky [5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Leader]
Allow your “great idea” to evolve and change. “Your idea is a great one, but on the road to fruition, understand that it will look very different eventually. It won’t resemble your first concept, nor the second version, but the third, after tons of listening and learning — that’s where success will come.” – Shawn Mendel, founder of Funley’s Delicious healthy snack line

Acknowledge your own shortcomings. “Know what your weakness is and hire people around it. The best trait in any leader is to be able to admit their weakest points and build a team to complement it.” – Ashley Morris, CEO of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop franchise

Hire (and promote) the right people. “Hire the best, most talented, most knowledgeable people you can get to be a part of your senior management team early as you can. Give them equity to keep them motivated. Steve Jobs mentions something about a small team of A+ players being able to run circles around a large team of B and C players. I see that every day. The entrepreneurs [who] hire A players early and get rid of C players early, move faster and more profitably than anyone else.” – Scott Jensen, co-founder of Rhythm Superfoods

Ask for help when you need it. “When you’re young you have boundless energy and want to do everything yourself, but don’t let your early success turn into an early burn out. Sometimes you will have to hire people older than you with more experience and take their advice, because there are times that you may not know best. And there are times you will. Know how to tell the difference, and know when it’s time to ask for help.” – Jeff Platt, founder and CEO of Sky Zone indoor trampoline park

Seek out a mentor. “As entrepreneurs we allow our ideas to rule our decision making and often throw analysis and planning out the window. A good mentor will help you think about things you have no experience with.” – Jeff Salter, founder of Caring Senior Service franchise

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. “Your word is everything. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Whether it is a volunteer opportunity or your job, always follow through. [But] it is important to know when to say no. Say, ‘I can’t do that, but this is what I can do.’ Offer what you can, without committing to something you are going to drop the ball on.” – Lais Pontes, president and founder of The Pontes Group PR and marketing firm

Always challenge and encourage yourself. “Young leaders must aspire to continually challenge themselves and focus efforts on improving their strengths as much as their weaknesses. You can be supported by the biggest team and staff, but sometimes as a leader it can be lonely. Those are the times you should find the drive and encouragement within yourself.” – David Norsoph, owner and founder of Norsoph, Alcalay & Orner LLP (NAO Law)

Earn your team’s respect. “Being a leader means being in command of yourself and your peers. Without either there is no balance. Show compassion and earn the respect of others. Learn to listen and guide.” – Michael Kuang, owner and founder of Syphon Fitness

Originally published on Business News Daily.

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