Many of the world’s successful and famous businessmen started in their teens. Starting out in your parent’s garage has become somewhat of an icon or a trademark for starting businesses. Even if you’re not aiming to be the next head of a giant software company, starting a small scale business in your teenage years will require you to face unique challenges. Here are some tips to help you get your business off the ground.
Focus on a Single Concept
During your teenage years, you are full of energy and creativity. You’ll have some creative ideas of your own regarding business ideas or how to improve current products and services. The problem is that 10 or 20 of your friends have the same ones. Discussions about business ideas with your friends can end up with confusing conclusions as you misinterpret opportunities when they are in reality distractions. Once you have a concept which you want to do, you should stick to it and continuously refine it. It’s a good idea to bring along your friends on your project. Just make sure that they understand your direction and what you want to do.
Do What You Love
While you are still thinking about your concept or what you want to do, don’t focus too much on current fads. Chances are, these will fade away in a few months and you have to rethink your business concept or strategy. Instead, think about what you love doing or learning. This way, even if the trends change, you can easily adapt and improve your product.
For instance, if your passion lies in programming or creating applications, then you can start from there. You can create applications that will be relevant to your target market. Since you’re still learning about the trade, you will find the need to read more on programming or use advanced software. If you’re not passionate about it, you’ll see it as a chore and abandon the project at the first sight of trouble.
Practice Your Sales Pitch
Once you’ve started your business, there will be times when you need to find partners or sponsors for your project. You might need something in the form of monetary support or materials provided by a specific company. To get these companies or organizations onboard your project, you need to make them understand about what your project is and what they will gain. This involves having a sales pitch with a manager or even a simple customer. A sales pitch isn’t something like what you would say to a close friend. It’s more business-oriented and you’re pressing them to support you in the end.
Don’t be a Stuck-up
It’s a given fact that no one knows everything. With your age, it’s painful to admit, but it’s the truth. You should surround yourself with people who will be able to advise and mentor you regarding business and managing people. Even if you have a huge number of friends available, make sure you work with people who share the same business goals, interests, and are willing to work with you on a long-term basis.
Accept Your Situation
When your business is still new, you don’t have the resources for fancy cars, big offices, and huge company accounts. A lot of young entrepreneurs give up in the early stages simply because they couldn’t have what they want immediately. Sad to say, businesses don’t work that way. You start from the bottom and work your way up. Your allowance and wallet is your company’s budget and what you have to live on. Take this as a learning opportunity to budget your company resources and maximize it.
Prepare for the Worst
Speaking of learning opportunities, managing your business and ensuring smooth operations will be next to impossible. There will always be bad decisions and people who only want to take advantage of your naivety. In fact, in the first few months, it’s common for new businesses to be in the red (negative income) before it will show any signs of profit. This doesn’t always mean that your business has already failed and you should shut down operations. This is a normal process and something that you should be prepared for.
Manage Your Limited Resources Wisely
As a young entrepreneur, your capital isn’t that much and your business connections are very limited. This means that you don’t have much breathing space to kick off your new business. However, this is also a good opportunity to practice your skills and in managing little resources to produce results. For example, if you need to organize a photo shoot for your products you can make use of your basement or garage. With the right decorations and proper skills, you could make the most out of it and produce astounding results. This limitation will also force you to think outside the box, boosting your creativity process on a business aspect.
Prioritize Your Tasks
When your business grows, it can be easy to forgo a lot of responsibilities and make poor decisions. For example, you might miss a deadline or make a hasty preparation just because you were partying last weekend. Though we’re not telling you to live as a shut-in and focus 100% on your business, you should keep your social and professional relatively healthy. Finding the right amount of work/life balance can be tricky at first, especially when you think that you’re still young and your friends have different mindsets. However, if you think about the big picture, it will help you make the proper decisions and get your priorities straight. At this point, learning to discipline yourself is the key.
Realize and Accept Defeat
When your business is in the red for the first few months, we suggested that you think it out and weather the storm. However, if it persists for more than a few months and you notice that your ideas are not advancing to what you would like it to be, you have to think about your whole business seriously. Knowing when it’s time for you to walk away is also an important skill for entrepreneurs, young and old.
This doesn’t stop there though, since damage assessment is also an important part of the learning process. Thinking about what went wrong and what were the bad decisions you made is healthy for your growth. You can also think about some things that you wanted to do differently next time. These are part of the learning process and are crucial when you start your next business. Failure will always be there, but a real entrepreneur will overcome it.
In the end, it all boils down to fun. Whether these business tips for young entrepreneurs worked or not, what matters is if you learned something from it and enjoyed the whole process. Remember what we said earlier, if your business takes off then you have to oversee its growth and eventually it can become your full time job.