Bright Young Things: How to Overcome Age Bias in Business

Here are five ways to overcome age bias as a young entrepreneur and let your youth and capabilities shine.

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Ageism is something that happens to older people right? Sure. But, there are plenty of younger people who can attest to their age being problematic when it comes to business.

Studies have shown that young people feel they are discriminated against in various ways. And at times, as a young entrepreneur, you may feel the odds are stacked against you when you’re doing business with older people in your industry.

So how can you overcome age bias as a young entrepreneur? Here are four ways to let your youth and capabilities shine.

1. Finance your startup

Young entrepreneurs often find it difficult to get startup capital in the first place, partly because of traditional financial institutions’ perceptions and partly because of a lack of credit history.

But don’t let this deter you. Think outside of the box for funding. Do you have friends or family willing to fund you? Can you go outside your immediate family circle with your business plan?

You may wonder why they would agree to invest in you but keep in mind opportunity is usually found in the unlikeliest of places. For example, the founder of Atlantic Records, the American record label best known for its rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and jazz recordings, landed a loan from his family dentist.

You may have to be willing to go to several private investors or “angel investors” as they could be more comfortable with a smaller investment because of your lack of experience. But don’t give up – there are plenty of options.

2. Dress the part.

Now I’m not saying you have to wear a suit and tie every day, particularly if your startup is within a creative industry. But you still need to look professional when you’re doing business with business partners, suppliers and customers.

You may already have obstacles to overcome given your age, so there is no point in building your own barriers by presenting an unprofessional image. Look at how the people in your industry you admire dress and emulate them.

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