Do you want to be a successful entrepreneur but don’t know how? If YES, here are 50 tips to help you become successful in business at a young age with no experience.
A lot of young people are frustrated by the current economy. In fact, researches have shown that young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population. A chunk of them would like to make a difference by doing their own thing, being independent and making a lot of money along the way. The way to achieve any of the aforementioned is hardly to go to work for another person.
A study that was conducted by the Kauffman Foundation showed that the decision to become an entrepreneur as opposed to working for someone has been increasing in young people between the ages of 18 to 21 from 19 percent in 2007 to 25 percent in 2010. This just goes to show that a lot of young people have started to realize and appreciate the potential of entrepreneurship.
Anyone can start up a business; however, it is difficult to grow and sustain the business for a long period of time while maintaining its viability. Succeeding in business is a difficult and arduous task, more so for young people because of a lot of factors.
Typically, young people lack experience and getting people to take your business serious can be an issue since a lot of people tend to distrust the managerial capacity of youths in general. Another unique problem that is faced by young entrepreneurs is filing for incorporation as holding a business account or credit card is illegal in a lot of countries if you are below the age of consent (18).
Mark Zukerberg, the owner of Facebook founded it when he was just twenty years old, today, he is one of the richest men on earth. Sergey Brin and Larry Page met in collage and started Google at the age of 25. Juliet Brindak started her business Miss O and Friends when she was just 10! Today the business is worth over 15 million dollars and the list of entrepreneurs who became successful at a young age goes on and on.
This just goes to show that those entrepreneurs who were successful know and have done things differently from the majority of others who did not succeed considering that 9 out of 10 businesses fail in their first five years. Here are a few tips that young people can tap into in other to succeed in business.
50 Tips on How to Be Successful in Business at a Young Age
1. Do You Have the Stomach for This?
Like stated earlier, a lot of businesses fail. Just like having a child, starting a business is a full time venture. It takes a lot of commitment, time and effort so therefore you need to have to stomach to handle this. You also have to know if you are comfortable handling multiple responsibilities because, if you are just starting up your business, there is a very big chance that you are going to be your only employee or one of few employees.
That is, you may be the chief marketing officer, chief sales person, receptionist etc. and if you are not comfortable joggling multiple responsibilities, then you should learn how to do so for your business to succeed.
2. Model Success
There are a lot of people that young people can look up to. Research the stories of people who have made it and are making it, surround yourself with excellence and success from young people who are doing great things. You will find out that they not only give ideas and strategies on to grow your business but also keep you motivated and wanting to keep going. Find at least one person in your industry that is doing really well so that you can look up to him/her and want to be like them. Create an environment of success and surround yourself with people you want to be like.
3. Get Experience
Business is all about providing and adding value. A challenge that a lot of young people face is that they don’t have the necessary experience to provide the much need value that a product or service ought to have. So how do you surmount this? Get experience. Whether you go to work for someone or volunteering at events, you will need to get more experience in other to provide value to your potential customers.
So whatever you want to learn to add something that is missing in your business or whatever you feel that you need to get better at, go take a course, volunteer or get a part time job. In order to earn, learn, get better at it and then earn. Get experience and then add your own tweak to the equation for a winning recipe.
4. Take Consistent Action
You have to do something every day to move your business forward. As a young person, it may be difficult to find time to run your business especially if you are still in school, but if you want to succeed, you will have to find time every single day to do something that moves your business forward.
Even if you have an exam tomorrow, you will have to find a little time today to take a positive action. The point here is that your business should be very important to you; else, it won’t take off. Challenge yourself and outdo what you did yesterday.
5. Get a Mentor
Starting up your own business as a young person can be quite intimidating. Your business may present you with tough decisions and questions that you may not have the experience that is required to proffer answers to. This is where a mentor comes in. A mentor is an experienced individual who you can lean on his experience, knowledge and resources to help you to develop your business.
Your mentor does not necessarily need to be in the niche of the business you do. Your mentor will advise you, help you to take difficult decisions, constructively criticize you, give you helpful contacts and connection etc. His personal success story will also help to motivate you in your endeavors. Not having a mentor in your business can result in wastage of time and resources.
6. Read the Right Books
You will have to put the right things into our mind to be able to generate success. Even with the tight schedule that comes with entrepreneurship, you still have to make out time and read for you to upgrade your knowledge, personally develop yourself and get into the right mindset.
Books about entrepreneurship will help to sharpen your business sense and intelligence and will also improve your investing skills. Autobiographies and biographies of successful entrepreneurs and books written by them should not lack in the library of an entrepreneur.
Books like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, A Happy Pocket Full of Money by David Cameron, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki among others can help to develop your entrepreneurial skill. Learning is a never ending process and to be successful you will need to have a hunger to learn new things all the time.
7. Stay Abreast with Trends
The business world is an ever changing one; therefore you will need to be up to date with the events that are happening in not only your niche but also in the entire business world. This is because employees are specialist while you as an entrepreneur are a generalist.
By being up to date with events, you can discover a problem which by proffering a tangible solution to it will turn into a flourishing business. Also, new trends when spotted quickly can be favourable to the early birds who take advantage of it. Read business and industry magazines, journals, investment magazines, articles, blog posts and even newspapers.
8. Surround Yourself With the Right People
The people who surround you and whom you associate with will definitely shape your mentality and the way you act and feel. Seek out and be close to people who are living the life that you want to live and exemplify. These people will challenge you.
The may not tell you the things that you want to hear, but they will tell you things that you have to hear in order to take your life to another level. Surround yourself with people who ask questions, who dream big and people who are relentless workers. They will help to inspire and motivate you more in your endeavors. Stay away from the nay Sayers.
9. Love your Business
Being passionate about your business is one of the ingredients that will help to foster the growth of your business. Doing what you love because you love it and not just for the money will help to take your business to greater heights. Also, when your business is going through a tough time (and it is to be expected), your passion will be the driving force that will propel it through such time.
If you don’t love your business, it will be stressful for you. Furthermore customers, colleagues, members of staff, investors, advisors etc. can sense when you don’t have passion for your business and it will definitely rub off badly on them.
10. Prepare for the Negativity
Negative people abound in the world and their pessimistic attitude will exhaust, discourage and prevent you from achieving your goals. Chances are that you know someone or will come in contact with someone who only sees what is wrong with your business. They can be friends, a parent, colleagues etc. Sometimes, they may have good intentions but they are hardly ever helpful. You will have to put on a figurative earmuff to keep their voices at bay and also try to surround yourself with positive people.
11. Be Professional
This is even more expedient especially if you are not in an online business. If you interact face to face with people, whether they are your partners, employees, investors, customers etc., you will have to be professional in all your dealings with them.
You have to realize that you are in the real world and you cannot relate with people in the business community the same way you relate with family and friends. Being professional involves appearing professional (that is dressing professionally) and communicating professionally. Being young doesn’t permit you to dress childishly or informal to a formal business event such as a pitch.
Network with other young entrepreneurs (peer to peer), with people who are in your industry and even entrepreneurs in general so as to build a connection with them. Use social media to network with other people as well. Google local business alliance and chamber of commerce events and try to belong to them. This will help you to get in contact with people. Networking events can also help to educate you more and expose you to investors or co-founders.
13. Build your Reputation
In the business world your reputation can help or harm you immensely. Good quality work and service builds good reputation which not only gets you loyal customers but also gets you more referrals. Even when times are tough, don’t cut corners, cheat or scam anyone for short term gain as it will definitely hurt you in the long run. Moreover, the internet never forgets. If you mess up in your business, chances are that the aggrieved party will post it on the internet where it will live to hunt you forever.
14. Learn from the Mistakes of Others: learning from your own mistake is a good thing but learning from the mistakes of others is even better. Read about and talk to other entrepreneurs about the mistakes they have made and then try to prevent the same fate from befalling you.
15. Know your Customer
They more you know about your target audience (customers), the better you can provide services that are tailored to solve their problems. The company that puts forward services that provide the best solution to a customer’s problem will definitely get more patronage.
Your job should be to get as close as you can to your customer so that you can better understand their pain, frustrations, fears, things that excite them and things that make them sad so that you can use this knowledge to create value for them. If are not close to them, you definitely cannot understand what they need.
16. Know your Competitors: Research will also help you to know more about the competition you face and what product or service is similar to the one you have. Your idea for a business doesn’t have to be entirely original. You can study an already existing business and then tweak it to become even more effective and attractive to customers.
17. Have a Business Plan: Don’t just jump into a business without knowing where you are going. A business may be original and sound like a really good idea, yet when it is broken down on paper by way of a business plan, you will discover that the business is not viable. A business plan will help to put your business in perspective while highlighting the cost, challenges and how you intend to achieve your goals.
18. Get in Contact with Support Organization
Support organizations for entrepreneurs help to provide financial support, training and offer all mentoring skills for entrepreneurs. They can also lead to connections, partnerships and even new clients and customers. Being in contact with people who are into what you are going through can help to ease the stress as they can offer advice on how to surmount problems they had in the past. Examples of support organizations include Entrepreneur’s organization (EO), Founderscard, Young Entrepreneurs (YEC) etc.
19. Find an Accelerator
Startup accelerators support new businesses with growth potentials. The support can be in form of mentorship, education and funding. Startups enter accelerators for a specific time period as part of a company. The aim is to accelerate the progress and development of the startup within a short period of time. Some well established companies have private startup accelerators that are targeted at specific niches such as agriculture, technology, healthcare, finance etc.
20. Join an Entrepreneur’s Society in University: Entrepreneur’s society in the university offer peer to peer support, training and also, they host ‘start u’ competitions. Furthermore the government usually provides funding as a support for their projects. Examples of such societies include (National Association of College and University entrepreneurs) NACUE
One of the major hurdles that are faced by startups is lack of funding. Getting the necessary funding to startup a new business requires skill and dexterity and young entrepreneurs getting into business for the first time may not have these.
For example, some bank loans require that the creditor must have good credit history, should submit his/her financial statement and sometimes even have an equity investment in their business. All these may not be too easy for a young person to have. You can get loans through government lenders or through government arms such as Small business administration (SBA). Also you can get funding from angel investors and venture capitalists.
22. Secure a Name
Choose and secure a unique business name that is suitable for your business and reflects what you do. It is really important that you choose a name that is not only memorable but easy to pronounce. Before you settle for a name, you have to ensure that you are not infringing on any ones copyright. Copyright infringement can cost you a lot. You can use the U.S patent office or website to find out if the name you want to use is already in use. Once you secure the name, you should also get a website.
23. Design a Logo: A well-crafted logo can be a big plus for your business by leaving a lasting impression on your customers thereby making you even more unique. Choose a logo that reflects the kind of business you do while passing relevant messages about your business.
24. Promote your Company: Nobody will know about your business unless you publicize it and make them aware of your brand. You don’t have to hire a PR company to do the promotion for you rather you can do the promotion yourself by way of social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. also, entering and winning entrepreneurship competitions can be a real boost to your brand.
25. Provide a Solution to a Problem not Just a Product
Don’t just build a business that doesn’t have a soul. If you build a company that offers exactly what is already on ground, you will have a problem turning in profit. Now, think about big companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft. What if they didn’t exist? You will have to admit that a deep void will be in their place. In the same way, you should try to model your solution in such a way that it becomes a must have rather than a should have.
26. Know When to Relax: Working hard is good, yet if you overdo it you will end up being stressed which will inexorably reduce your productivity. Therefore you have to make out time to unwind and relax so as to get back your energy. You can’t do it all in a day, so why the rush?
27. Get Inspired: before you start your work, take out time to get inspired. You can achieve this by taking a walk in the park, reading a novel, meditating, listening to soft music or doing any other activity that gets your creative juice flowing. Take out time to meditate, think deeply and contemplate on how to improve yourself as an entrepreneur.
28. Take Risk
Even though starting a business is a risky ordeal, you still have to take additional risks in order to succeed in your chosen enterprise. Being risk averse is definitely not a recipe for success. Take calculated risk when necessary to move your business to the next level. It is however good to note that taking risk does not mean the same thing as taking a blind leap of faith. You have to do concrete research to back up your final decision.
29. Set Goal
Set goals that will serve as timely evaluations of how well you are doing in growing your business. This will help you decide if you are doing fine or if you need to change some things for the better improvement of your business. The goal you set should be divided into short, medium and long term goals. Ensure that the goal you set are measured regularly, attainable, and realistic and time phased. If possible, endeavor to surpass the goals that you set for yourself and business.
30. Determine the Legal Framework for your Business: You should know if your business will be a sole proprietorship, corporation, a non-profit or a limited liability company. This will help to streamline the legal and tax obligations of your business while registering it.
31. Choose a Location
In addition to a cyber-location, you will need to choose a physical location that is spacious and strategically located for your need. For example, if your startup makes mobile applications you will need a smaller space as compared to a startup that is into textile production. Choose a location that has a future of expansion also.
Make sure that your business is in line with the zoning regulations of the area you intend to locate it. For example, certain types of businesses cannot be located near a residential house. Furthermore, if you are not yet 18 years of age, make sure to ask the real estate agency if they will rent to you because some agencies do not rent to minors.
Determining the right price for your product or service can be quite a confusing ordeal for an entrepreneur. If your product or service is unique, you may find it difficult to gauge the price that customers will be willing to part with for it. A concrete research should be able to clear your doubts and proffer a plausible price that will be acceptable to your customers. You should startup with a lower price that will still allow you to break even and later as your popularity improves, you can scale up your price.
33. Believe in Yourself: one of Henry Ford’s famous quotes is that “whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are right”. This is very true. If you don’t believe in your capacity as an entrepreneur, your business will wither like a lettuce in the desert. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one will believe in you.
34. Face your Fears: as a young entrepreneur, you will have a couple of fears; yet shying away from them is never the best thing to do. Face your fear and you will discover that they will become demystified and smaller. Common fears that young entrepreneurs face include not knowing where to start from, not being an expert, being considered crazy due to radical ideas, not finding startup funds, not attracting customers etc.
35. Less Talk More Action: without implementation, beautiful business ideas are just ideas and believe me, the world has a lot of that. To be successful, you will have to take your ideas out of your head and onto the drawing board. Don’t just dream about starting a business, start one.
36. Be Patient: your business may not take off immediately; therefore you may need to exercise patience. Everyone was once a beginner so don’t mourn your early days as an entrepreneur.
37. Build a Team
Most a times, the success of a business does not exist in a vacuum. Build a great team that sees your vision and will help to bring it to fruition. Don’t try to do it all on your own because you may end up stressing yourself without achieving success. When you are choosing individuals for your team, go for individual of sound character and not just skilled individuals.
This is because you can train someone to get a skill but you cannot make someone change his/her values so as to fit into your company that easily. Also when hiring your staff, make sure that you don’t hire people who have similar skills to yours. Go for the opposite of who you are. Diversify and employ staff who will bring to the table the skills you lack.
38. Learn from Complaints: the complaints of customers should be encouraged as it not only leads to improvement of the existing product, it can also lead to new ideas which can generate an entirely new product. When you hear customers say “how I wish that this product could do …” then you have a potential idea on your hand that can further improve your business success. Let the unhappy customer teach you where the problems in your products or services lie.
39. Ask for the Opinion of the Customers: don’t just anticipate the need of your customers. Ask them what they want so as to give them exactly what is tailored to their needs. For instance, if customers are demanding for peanut butter instead of peanut, this will give you an idea that will eventually satisfy the yearning of the customer.
40. Be Shrewd with your Money: when you finally get the fund to run your business, spend it wisely. Don’t be frivolous with your spending; wasting it on things that don’t matter while neglecting the important things. Use your money wisely and it will go a long way for you.
41. Over Deliver: because you are still the new kid on the block, you will have to prove yourself to your customers. Surprise and seduce them by delivering more than they expect. This will get you noticed and will increase your popularity.
42. Get Insured
Insurance is an arrangement where an insurance company guarantees a compensation for individual in the event that he/she suffers a loss. Insurance is a very crucial element of a successful business because nobody knows the future and anything could happen. Insurance will help to cushion the effects of a loss, theft or damage to your business assets. Insurance types vary from business to business so you have to find out the one that is best suited for you.
43. Be Flexible: more often than not, the original business idea you have will need to be modified in line with “real world” situations. Don’t be rigid and stick to the first plan because it is most likely not your best plan yet. Be ready to change and create what your customers need the most.
44. Avoid Fights with Partners: if you have a partner, try as much as possible to not fight amongst yourselves as this will ultimately kill the business if not checkmated. If you run into an unresolvable conflict with a partner, sever ties and move on rather than fighting with him/her at the detriment of the business.
45. Get a Copy Writer: unless you are a talented writer, you will need the services of a copywriter to help you compose emails for highly targeted customers, newsletters, press releases and other such writings that will help to spread awareness about your brand.
46. Delegate: don’t try to do it all. Delegate responsibilities if you have employees so as to divide the labor into sensible units. Be an active manager by managing your work and not the other way around.
47. Make Sure Your Clients Pay their Bills: as obvious as this may sound, a few young entrepreneurs end up being taken advantage of. Always receive payments for all services you render to customer. You can set up online payment for ease of payment.
48. Don’t Put All your Trust on Social Media: without any doubt, social media is a very important marketing tool to get the word of your business out to the world, yet, it should not be over used. Experiment with other options and evaluate the result you get because in the actual sense, effective advertising involves a combination of methods not just one.
49. Learn to Handle Disappointments: If you suffer rejection at the hands of an investors or customer, do not be angry or despondent. Find out why you were rejected, make the necessary modifications and try again.
50. Know When to Call it Quits: if the business plan you had put in motion does not work, don’t be afraid to call it quits, learn your lessons from the failed business and move on to better things. Don’t waste your time and resources beating a dead horse. That your business failed doesn’t make you a failure, put away your pride and move on.