No entrepreneurial handbook or face-to-face mentorship with a self-made billionaire can ever fully guarantee a business’ success. But it looks like Asia Pacific’s Gen Zs and millennials are willing to take the challenge head on.
A 2021 Asia Pacific Young Entrepreneurs Survey released by Herbalife Nutrition unveiled that 72% of Gen Zs and millennials in the region aspire to build their own businesses, with almost nine out of 10 (87%) of them believing that the best age to start a business is under 40 years old. The average best age, they said, is 27.
The global nutrition company polled more than 4,000 people in the Gen Z and Millennial (aged 18 - 40) groups to examine entrepreneurship trends across Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
"Many aspiring entrepreneurs are driven by the prospect of following their passions, and desire to become their own bosses. They see their youth as a strength, especially when it comes to being technology savvy and having fresh ideas," said Stephen Conchie, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Herbalife Nutrition Asia Pacific.
Right skills and experience needed
But while they have burning fervor for entrepreneurship, the respondents said they are not jumping into business before they get relevant experiences and necessary skills to manage one.
"Most respondents feel intimidated by their lack of experience, are concerned about business start-up costs, and the necessary financial and market knowledge. This is where learning good business fundamentals; having mentors, the right resources and a supportive community can help budding entrepreneurs to better navigate the uncertainties ahead. These important steps can improve their chances of success," added Conchie.
Because they’re starting young, the respondents said they have better adaptability to new technology and are more likely to embrace state-of-the-art innovations than the older generations. Not to mention they bring fresh unexplored ideas that, when developed, will create groundbreaking results.
When asked about the motivations for their entrepreneurship aspirations, the top reasons include following their passion (40%), becoming their own boss (39%), wanting more flexibility in their jobs (37%), supporting their families (36%), and wanting a career change (33%).
Money is (always) an issue
The journey to success begins with a single step — but the most crucial part of starting a business actually starts after that first step. Finances play a big part on where that step leads, and Gen Zs and millennials know this. Survey respondents said the initial costs (38%) and the lack of financing and market knowledge support (35%) are the main challenges of making their dream ventures come true.
Finding angel investors and forging partnerships can be key to getting the right investments needed to get those ideas off the ground, but that’s easier said than done, especially for young hopefuls. It’s important to have your own monetary investment first, be it a 12 months’ worth of savings or a freelance job you can rely on for financial safety net.
Many entrepreneurs who’ve already made it to the top (Did you know John Koum worked as a janitor before launching WhatsApp?) have had to sacrifice so much to gain what they want. Save up enough so you won’t have to worry about rent or food as you grow your business.
And don’t forget about insurance, licenses and taxes — they will take a huge chunk of your profit margin.
Beyond monetary funds, survey respondents said training and education (55%) and access to business tools (45%) will help drive success.