Stupid Enough to Succeed: The Millennial Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Business Hypergrowth, provides first-hand stories, tips and advice – both to guide and inspire young entrepreneurs who are starting on their path to grow a successful business.
As the book’s author, Junk-A-Haulics owner Jeff Naeem, puts it, millennials often find themselves at the end of a punchline. One of the inspirations behind the book was to shed light on some of the awesome things that millennials are doing every day.
Naeem’s goal was not to come across as some know-it-all guru, but, instead, provide readers with real (and often crazy) stories of the challenges, pitfalls, successes and lessons that he has learned on his journey as a young entrepreneur.
Naeem spoke with New Jersey Business about his book and shared a few tips that young entrepreneurs could find helpful in the early stages of starting their business.
Be sure to properly utilize technology: “A lot of older generations tend to add technology to an existing business, whereas newer generations are building their entire platform off of technology itself,” Naeem says. “This is a good way to cut costs and lower the barriers of entry.”
For example, Naeem recalls forgoing a legacy phone system at his company and instead opting for Google Voice, a much cheaper alternative that still provided all the benefits of a fully robust and sophisticated phone system. He was also able to crowdsource his company logo, and uses a $10/mo plug-in that allows for a full online booking service.
“However, I’m still an old school guy in that I like to pick up the phone and chat with people. The important thing to remember is that you can’t totally toss out everything that has worked for the last 100 years,” Naeem says. “It is still integration and not a complete replacement.”
Redefine your management style: “Instead of saying, ‘I have all the answers and you have to follow me,’ my approach is that I don’t have all the answers, and I want [my employees] to come up with solutions,” he says.
This way, employees feel heavily invested in a task or project, as it is their own idea being put to the test. They will work harder to ensure that their solution truly works, and they will have a sense of ownership in their own ideas and feel like a valued part of the company.
Hire and fire based on your core values: “If you are not consistent with hiring and firing based on your values, you are going to get a random culture that will take on a life of its own, instead of the one you want,” Naeem says.
He continues, “Most people are focused on the skills question, but if you get the right type of people in accordance to the values that you hold dear, then the culture will emerge organically. … Most skills can be taught, but you aren’t changing what is at a person’s core.”