Kukun CEO and serial Entrepreneur, Raf Howery, has built a career working with both startups and large enterprises. For him, one characteristic of these two types of companies stands out: Age. Startups, by definition, are fraught with risks and thus attract younger employees who are willing to take on that risk because they are less loaded down with responsibilities like families, mortgages, etc. Startup employees are more willing to try new ways of operating and think outside the box. They are often innovative and can be considered revolutionaries. On the flipside, large enterprises attract employees who are interested in stability and have more years of experience and lessons learned, hence older.
But, does the workforce have to be mutually exclusive? Raf, who started and operates a successful at home business Kukun, believes we can and should mix out of the box thinking with experience. He believes this creates a healthy tug of war between two mandatory sets of skills for success. Here are the top three greatest advantages he sees to mixing real life work experience with intuitive thinking in the workplace:
1- Building a lasting business requires innovative thinking and new ways to do business but it demands a lot of experience. That is why startups with only young founders often need the support of venture capital firms early on. VC’s offer their advisors and expertise to aid younger staff in delivering results with less trial and errors. If a company starts with the right mix from the get go, it would expedite its efficiencies, reduce its mistakes and bring to bear success earlier.
2- Young employees know how to think outside the box. They understand their peers in their generation but often struggle with users or buyers of their services if they are above their age group. Having a management team that combines young and seasoned employees can only help achieve a wider appeal to a wider user pool. Experienced leaders can learn a lot from the younger employees who have different expectations and demand different consumer experiences.
3- Like all great things in life, checks and balances are crucial! Mixing the demographics and experience levels allows for a healthy workplace balance that can eventually lead to a solid business firmly grounded in today’s consumer needs but shooting for the consumer of tomorrow. It can be trying for a small organization to create that tug of war early on, but if the members work on acquiring skills from each other and are open to adapting their ways of operating, it will lead to results that are no less than GREAT.
“My Kukun Co-Founder, Jean-Louis Ledanois, and I have built an amazing tag team based on our combined experience and visions. He helped me to see the consumer needs of his generation and I helped him see how to avoid common business pitfalls, build a strong team quickly, and reduce mistakes, all while saving money as we grew the business,” Raf Howery told Home Business Magazine.
We’d have to agree that this approach has worked well for Kukun and should be applied across various industries. We must accept a mixed demographic workforce to built lasting businesses and find success.