Generation Y business owners between the ages of 18- to 28-years old are more geared for growth in the recession than either Gen X (29-44) or Baby Boomers (45-63), found a new study. Despite the economic gloom, these entrepreneurs are building wildly successful ventures as featured in Inc's 2009 30 Under 30 package.
The American Express (AMEX) OPEN Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey of small business owners and their companies, found that 80-percent of entrepreneurs from age 18-28 have a more positive outlook on business prospects in the recovering economy.
Alice Bredin, small business advisor to the Monitor, said this data was interesting, because in a tough economy, it is typically older generations that feel more optimistic. "I have a couple thoughts on why this might be true," Bredin said. "One is because when you're a younger entrepreneur, your definition of success may be more modest. It might be 'easier' for a younger entrepreneur."
Among the areas where Gen Y entrepreneurs are pointedly more optimistic are: Their likeliness to hire new employees (36 percent, versus 25 percent of Gen X and 20 percent of Boomers); their willingness to take financial risks (67 percent, versus 52 percent of Gen X and 47 percent of Boomers); and the fact that they are less "stressed about" the economic crisis (57 percent, versus 72 percent of Gen X and 71 percent of Boomers).
One Gen Y entrepreneur who agreed with this area of AMEX OPEN's findings is Ashleigh Hansberger, co-founder of brand strategy and design firm, Motto Agency, which is based out of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. "I think the whole premise of older versus younger entrepreneurs is the experience level," she said. "The older level can deal with the ebbs and flows of business, but they are also not familiar with new technology in business. [Gen Y entrepreneurs] are used to being more flexible and more innovative to make a profit."
Hansberg explained that her company is service-based, so when Motto's clients began tightening their budgets, they began charging clients for their services by using social media sites as a platform for generating revenue: "We've had to develop, create, and host a new [business initiative] called 'Behind the Brand.' Through sharing on Facebook, we engage in product giveaways and thoughtful discussion. That's probably not something we would have been involved in before, but we needed to find other ways to get paid."