The Young Entrepreneur’s Challenge

The Young Entrepreneur’s Challenge


Many young entrepreneurs face a bias from prospective customers or other dealmakers who make assumptions about maturity, business acumen and intellect based on their age. Young entrepreneurs need to be on top of their game when it comes to selling to, relating to, and negotiating with older professionals and business people. Here are three tips that will serve you well when dealing with an age bully.

1. Hold your ground

If you know you’re right, don’t let anyone bully you simply because they are older than you. Hold your ground and show them the same level of courtesy. Being told you are wrong or that you need ‘someone else’s help’ to truly realise your vision is a tactic others use to try to weaken your position and strengthen theirs. Learn the difference between those who add value and those who simply want the value you offer.

2. Don’t waste your time

Establish your value and track record at the start of any meeting, but avoid appearing conceited or pompous. If the person across the table from you is too egotistical or elitist to accept you as an equal, understand your value and be courteous. They are not worth your time – no matter what they say (or you think) they bring to the table.

3. Bring gray-haired back-up

The best way to soften up a lead or negotiation is by bringing someone with whom older generations can see eye-to-eye. Is this a sign of weakness? Can you not handle your own business yourself? Quite the contrary. It allows you to manipulate the situation to your advantage.

Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, public speaker and author of Never Get a 'Real' Job: How to Dump Your Boss, Build a Business and Not Go Broke.