You are never too young to start thinking about running your own business, and if you are thinking about ways of how you can use your tech skills and entrepreneurial flair for your financial advantage, you need to harness that drive and make positive steps to making your dreams a reality.
Whether you are fresh out of college or still in high school, there is no reason why you can’t pursue a serious career right now alongside your studies. You have the benefit of having grown up with access to technology at your fingertips, and you will have transformative ideas that have not been polluted with the burden of mortgages, bills and families to distract you. You are ideally placed to make your business a success. So, how can you take the first steps?
Understand where your passion lies
If your business endeavors are going to be a success, you need to have a passion for the core activities. Don’t chase the money, chase the passion. For a business to have longevity you need to be able to see yourself still as passionate about your idea further down the road – a year, two years and longer. You want to build a sustainable business that is not just a passing trend. When you base your business on something that you are passionate about, you will find that you are more inspired and motivated – key ingredients for business success.
Don’t ignore your own problems
Successful businesses are based on their ability to solve a customer’s problem. If there is something in your own life that bugs you and you would pay for a solution, chances are high that there are other people that would also too. Never discount apparently simply ideas. Success is not always based on the complex!
Document your ideas
You will be familiar with brainstorming. Brainstorming is a great way to generate ideas and build solutions. It’s important to document your ideas so that you can revisit them when you are inspired to add and further develop ideas. You don’t know what will turn out to be a successful idea, so don’t discredit your early thoughts – they may be in their infancy, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t evolve into a winning product.
Know your market
The key to success for your business is understanding and knowing the market that you are going to be selling your product to. If you want your business to succeed, you need to undertake thorough research into who your target market is before you launch your product. This research will help you to identify the best way to promote your product, but also the price point. The better you understand your target market, the more able you are to create a product that resonates with them. You may find that you need to tweak your product so that it better fits their requirements.
You will more than likely be familiar with the phrase “failing to plan is planning to fail,” and this is so true for starting your business. You need to define goals that you want to achieve so that you can work backward to identify the steps that you need to take to reach them. The combination of having achievable steps and a goal that you are aiming for will give you the direction that you need to drive your startup forward.
Extend your knowledge
As a young person in business, you may find that you feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the lack of knowledge that you have about business; however, it is ok not to know everything. If you look at the businesses that you admire, they consist of many different teams whose members perform different roles – there is not one person who can know it all. The good news is that there are a host of online resources such as podcasts that are developed for and by entrepreneurs to motivate and inspire you to drive your business forward. You can also enlist the help of a mentor.
Find a mentor
A mentor is someone who can help to guide you and give you advice. A mentor has trodden the same path that you are taking and will be able to advise you to make sound business decisions and potentially introduce you to their contacts.
You may personally know someone who has experience of running their own successful business, or you can reach to leaders in the industry niche that you are interested in. Attend conferences and networking events armed with business cards so that you can develop a relationship later. LinkedIn is a valuable networking platform. Identify relevant businesses and contact people to see if they can chat with you. People are flattered to be approached, so don’t be shy about doing so; however, if the person is not interested, thank them for their time and respectfully back off – you don’t know whether you will come across them again in the future, so always be polite.
Get your finances in order
Many startups rely on investors to get their business up and running, but this opportunity is not always possible. Most entrepreneurs must rely on their own personal finances to fund their ventures so it’s important that you get your finances in order. This means that you need to clean up your credit rating as soon as you can. A bad credit student loans can be used to tidy up debts which will mean that you have a significantly improved rating when you need to apply for a business loan.
Starting your own business at any age is daunting, and you may find that you question the challenge that you have given yourself; however, your creativity, your thirst for innovation and determination provides you with a real opportunity to make your business a success. You will need to be resilient to overcome obstacles and make sacrifices to become successful – behind every successful startup is hundreds of hours of work and commitment.