Towers from the Ground Up...
An Adventurer's Tale
It's a well established fact that age casts obstacles in the explorer's path - not in terms of what we can accomplish but in how we're perceived. What's less well known is that youth doesn't always lead to an easier path through the business jungle. In fact, it may very well throw out obstacles of its own. RIFT Accounting's favourite teen industrialist, Ben Towers, recently regaled us with a perfect illustration of the case in point. Perched atop a throne forged from the adamantine skeletons of many fallen robot soldiers, he recalled the following incident:
"A few months ago, I went into my bank and they asked why I had so many transactions for this month. When I explained about my business, my account was frozen and I was told I could no longer use a child's account."
The trap was sprung. Below 18 years old, Ben was too young to set up a business bank account and yet too wild an entrepreneurial spirit to be constrained by a simple child's account. It was a setback that might have felled a less determined adventurer, but Ben's will was stronger. Intervention from the Federation of Small Businesses was sufficient in this case to get the account unfrozen, but with many other young businesses poised to step into the same snare, Ben took it upon himself to set things right.
"I'm currently in talks with some major politicians and banks to try and get a limited business account for under-18s."
Ben's investigations have revealed a number of similar pitfalls waiting to swallow unwary young explorers who pass this way. Payment gateways, essential for so many business ventures, are also restricted to those over 18. Ben was able to negotiate this trap by registering a gateway account in his father's name, but this may not be a workable solution for all who follow and there's clearly still work to be done in this field.
Moreover, many of the obstacles blocking the paths of young entrepreneurs aren't even as tangible as outdated banking rules. In an environment where survival depends on the trust of your allies and the respect of your rivals, too many people see younger adventurers as intrinsically unreliable. Ben himself has grown used to explaining at exhibitions that he's the master, not the apprentice. These prejudices are deeply buried and difficult to dig out but, as Ben comments, they're a problem that business will be forced to face up to soon.
"I was working with the FSB to write a report about young entrepreneurs and we discovered that, last year, 247,049 businesses were started up by those under 35."
That figure is an astonishing 70% increase over the previous year, and clearly demonstrates that younger people can no longer be ignored in business. As the motto etched into Ben's throne in the acid blood of his enemies states: "If you don't want to work with me, I don't want to work with you."
Wise words - still thundering in the ears of short-sighted businesses, corporations and market leaders who have crawled back to Towers Design's Volcano Fortress after initially dismissing it. To ignore the young is to ignore the future - and that's a mistake no business can afford.
Join us again soon for more Voices From the RIFT...