If you’re under the age of 18 and you’re thinking about starting up your own business at some point in the future, it’s important to start planning early. The sooner you start aiming at your eventual success, the more likely it is to come. Simply put, get prepared, put in the groundwork now, and focus on your goal of starting a business as soon as you can. Here are some of the ways you can do just that.
Get a part-time job
If you have the time, outside of school, then you should be considered a part-time summer job. There are plenty of reasons to do this besides getting a little cash. For one, it’s the best way to get hands-on experience of what it’s like to work in a business and to have a responsibility towards the success of that business. It can also be a valuable way of making contacts who would help you when you later start your own business. Try to get a job in an industry that’s connected to the kind of business you want to start.
Choose your education carefully
The sooner you know what you want to do with your life, the better it is as you’re able to start making choices about your education that help you achieve the goals you set for yourself. For instance, you can decide to transfer to a military school, which tends to be known for better academic results and can help you build the kind of fortitude and discipline that is very much necessary for the world of business. Beyond that, you may want to consider gaining some qualifications in business studies or business management, as they can prepare you for a lot of the specific challenges you might face when you do get your business up and running.
Build networks as best as you can
Networking is one of the most important techniques that a business leader can learn. Your network can help you get in touch with those who can help fund your business, can provide services to it, help you gain publicity for it, and so on. Take care to build good relationships with those who might later benefit your business, whether it’s your teachers and managerial staff at your school or college, your employers, and so on. Finding other business-minded students and collaborating with them can prove fruitful in later life, as well. Networking is mostly about having conversations about your plans and the plans of others, supporting one another, and gaining and sharing wisdom when you have the opportunity to. There’s a lot more to it than that, of course, so do plenty of studying on how to network effectively.
Work with a mentor
Through your education, work, and networking, you should keep a lookout for the more experienced, authoritative figure who can serve as your mentor. Business mentors lend their experience, their knowledge, and advice to those who are newer to the market, for the purposes of furthering their professional and personal development. They do this for many reasons, including expanding their own network and because they get a sense of fulfillment in helping young entrepreneurs. Finding a mentor is not as simple as asking someone “will you be my mentor.” You have to let the relationship form naturally, often by working under or with them collaboratively for a period of time, then ensuring you keep in touch long after your professional relationship with them is finished.
Find your market
A lot of the information you’re going to learn here is going to be taught to you by taking a business course at some point. However, there are several aspects of how markets work that you need to know before you try starting a business. Supply and demand is the most crucial one. Before you start a business, check to make sure you can find a market that demands the products or services you want to start. Then check to see if the supply currently exists to meet that demand. If it does, then you’re going to have competitors and you may need to find a way to offer a much superior service to them or focus on a niche that they’re not targeting.
Know what kind of business you can start
When you start a business, you need to make sure it’s the right one for you. This means more than doing market research. It also means asking yourself if you’re really going to be invested in it. There are plenty of businesses you can start as a teenager without too much difficulty. However, you have to ask yourself if the business fits your skills and your passion, and whether you can see yourself working on this business for years to come, or if you only like the idea because there’s room for it in the market. You also need to think about the business fits your lifestyle. Do you want to be in a business that sees you working nights predominantly, for instance?
Be able to write a business plan
Business plans play a very important role in business. As the name suggests, it lays out how you are going to run the business, including how much money you need, what it will be spent on, and how much money you expect to earn and how. It also sets out goals for your business to grow towards. However, the most important role that the business plan plays is that it’s key in helping you get funding. When you look for funding, be it from banks or investors, they are going to want to look at your business plan to determine that you have a good shot of helping them make their investment back with interest.
Learn how to manage money
If you plan on getting into business, you must have some kind of financial sense. There are all kinds of accounting apps that can help you keep track of what you’re spending and how much you’re making. However, if you don’t know the importance of things like keeping a positive cash-flow, how to effectively use debt to your business’s favor, and how to invest your money back into the business, you will have trouble. Thankfully, there are plenty of guides on the internet about how to become more financially responsible, and how to make sure you’re able to manage a business’s finances effectively. Do your homework, start managing your personal funds well, and apply what you learn to your business’s finances.
Don’t rush into it
When you have your business plan and you feel like you’re ready to start your business, don’t feel like you’re in a race to get it up and running as soon as possible. Take the time you need to research the market, develop your idea, and change your business plan if you need to. When it comes to getting funding for your business (unless you’re bootstrapping it) you’re going to need detailed answers to the questions that banks and lenders will ask you. Even if your idea is good, if you don’t have a detailed plan to carry it out, it will most likely fail. Never rush in business, make sure you’re always in the best position to act before you act.
If you’re a teenager with the passion and enthusiasm to start a business, then you already have a headstart on who will eventually be your competition. Follow the tips above and you can capitalize on that head start even further.