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When it comes to entrepreneurship, Gen Z is interested. In a recent survey, over half of Gen Z respondents expressed their hopes of someday owning a business. And more and more of them are making good on this desire. In 2021, over five million new business applications were filed. Many of these new businesses are being led by Gen Z entrepreneurs.
But just because young people are becoming business owners doesn’t mean they’re running things the same old way. Gen Z views work differently and that doesn’t change when they’re in charge. To understand the shifting business landscape, it’s worth focusing on some of the ways these young entrepreneurs are doing things differently.
Different relationships to work
Gen Z doesn’t view work in the same way that previous generations did. This extends beyond just the behaviors of workers. Even Gen Z entrepreneurs are rejecting the traditional view of the work week:
- 91% of Gen Z entrepreneurs work unconventional hours
- 81% report working during vacations, significantly higher than the 62% reported for all other generations
What does this mean? The traditional five days a week, 9–5 workday is transforming. From the C-suite to individual contributors, scheduling flexibility is the future. Offering this flexibility is key to attracting the best talent.
But Gen Z doesn’t just view the when of work differently, they also have a different relationship to the why of work. Looking at the most popular businesses being started by Gen Z entrepreneurs makes it clear that they are driven by their passions. Four of the most popular industries for Gen Z include:
This shows that work is more than just a pursuit of money for these entrepreneurs. They care. And through social media and similar customer integrations, they are finding ways to communicate these passions to their customers.
Different relationships with customers
To Gen Z, authenticity matters. When it comes to entrepreneurship, this means creating meaningful connections with customers. By showing customers that you see them as more than just dollar signs, you start to create brand loyalty.
Of course, in modern society, creating meaningful customer relationships isn’t necessarily a face-to-face proposition. Gen Z entrepreneurs know they need new ways to communicate their values to their customers and they embrace technological tools to help them achieve that in multiple ways:
- Personalization – Utilizing customer data can lead to more personalized, meaningful communication.
- Outreach – Social media allows you to find customers where they already are as opposed to relying on them finding you.
- Efficiency – Automation tools keep your customer communications consistent without sacrificing excess time and energy.
Different relationships with employees
Businesses can’t survive without loyal customers. But for a business to grow and thrive, they also need loyal, engaged employees. For Gen Z entrepreneurs, this means creating a work environment that is attractive to the next generation of workers.
So what do Gen Z workers value? At the top of the list is undoubtedly a healthier work-life balance. Some things employers can implement to help with this balance include:
- Competitive benefits programs
- Mental health days
- Diversity initiatives
- Hybrid work options
But this is just a start. To attract and keep the best employees, Gen Z entrepreneurs realize that creating an environment that empowers workers is vital. When surveyed, Gen Z workers made it clear how that can be accomplished:
- Less specialization – Younger workers want to engage their myriad skills. This means they are attracted to jobs that are less specialized, with 80% of respondents stating a preference for jobs that utilize and grow a variety of skills.
- Holistic management – 79% of young workers state their preference to be viewed as more than just a means to an end. They prefer jobs where management is interested in their lives outside of work as opposed to being singularly focused on their professional development.
Again, authenticity matters. Gen Z – whether as customers, workers, or entrepreneurs – want to be defined by who they are not just what they do.
Creating the workspaces of the future
Work is changing. This is true for both employers and employees. To create the best possible businesses, Gen Z entrepreneurs are reimagining work. They are creating workspaces that value people over pure commoditization.
To do this, they need help. By embracing the best possible tools, such as the connected ecosystem of Square solutions, these new business owners can better execute their visions and set up their companies for success both now and in the future.