There is no age requirement when it comes to starting your own business. That’s why we’ve written this article for the teenagers out there who have a great business idea they’re just itching to bring to life.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur with dreams of being your own boss, here are five tips to help get you on your way:
1. Passion Will Fuel Your Business
What is the reason you want to be an entrepreneur? Is it because the idea of being your own boss sounds cool? Or do you have a great idea in mind that you just can’t stop thinking about? Whatever your reasoning is, the most important thing is that you are passionate about the business you plan to build. Being an entrepreneur is a big commitment – of both your time and money. If you’re passionate about the idea and love what you’re doing, it will make that commitment much easier. Plus, when you inevitably face bumps in the road, passion is what will help you to stick with it and fight to make the adjustments needed.
2. Your Business Plan is Your Roadmap
Once you have your idea, the next step will be to create a business plan. Think of this as a roadmap or blue print for how you will build your business. Will you be making a certain product? If so, what problem does that product solve? What materials will you need to make the product? How much do those materials cost? Who is your target audience? How will you promote the product to them? You’ll want to ask yourself all these questions and figure out, to the best of your ability, what the answers are.
If you’re under 20-years-old, chances are you’ve never made a business plan before. How will you know how to do it? Luckily, there are plenty of business plan templates available online that you can download and use as a guide. If you know anyone who owns their own business – be it one of your parents, a family friend, relative or neighbor – ask them for help.
Remember, you won’t know all the answers yet. There are probably a lot of components you’re not 100% sure about. That’s OK! A big part of building a business is figuring things out as you go along. The beauty of creating a business plan is that it forces you to think about things you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise. In business, it’s always best to be overprepared.
3. You’ll Need Financing
No matter how small your business is to start, it will cost money to build and eventually grow. Unless you have a stellar allowance and have been saving up for years, chances are you won’t personally have the money you need to get the business started. You are going to need to obtain outside financing. This can be done in a number of ways.
You could pitch your idea to family and friends to see if they would be interested in making an investment. Or you could look to cast a wider net by creating a pitch for crowdfunding platforms which, if successful, will allow you to obtain small amounts of money from larger groups of people to put towards your business idea.
There are also small business grants you may be able to apply for. Grants are like small business loans that you don’t need to pay back. They are awarded by institutions and are more mission-focused, as opposed to loans which are given out by lenders who focus predominantly on the business owners’ ability to pay them back.
Small business loans are intended for entrepreneurs looking to build a small business. However, in most states, teenagers are not legally able to apply for small business loans from banks or traditional lending institutions without an adult (21 or older) co-singing the application.
4. A Mentor Can Make All The Difference
A mentor is someone with more experience than you in the same field or a similar field that you want to work in, who can help to guide you, provide advice and impart knowledge as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.
This individual should be someone who you can trust, and who has your best interest at heart. Maybe there is someone in your family or in your community that you can turn to. There are also plenty of mentorship programs available throughout the country. Do some research to see if any are available near you, or if there are online options you can partake in.
5. Business Knowledge is Key
As mentioned, it’s important to be passionate about what you’re doing, but running a successful business involves more than just a business owner’s attitude and mindset. It also requires skills, expertise and knowledge that you can only acquire through learning about business concepts.
You can take free masterclasses or programs online that teach you about the technical aspects of business management. There are many resources out there that can help you increase your understanding of the field you are involved in.