Whether or not your business succeeds, as a teen entrepreneur, you will amass a unique and valuable wealth of knowledge and experience like no other. You’ll develop the skills to solve problems, think critically, be creative and innovative in your products, services, and solutions, and you’ll gain the confidence and independence to pursue future aspirations that might be daunting to others.
Aside from the obvious benefits of teen entrepreneurship in terms of the skills acquired and lessons learned, you’ll also set yourself apart as a driven, ambitious go-getter who is willing to tackle new challenges head-on, and this will be a huge asset to you on your resume for future college applications and job and internship interviews. Those are all the benefits you’ll receive regardless of the outcome of your business, but if your business succeeds, those benefits will multiply.
In addition to the potential future revenue generated by your business, you just may make a huge positive impact on the world with your newly found business, as well as possibly create your own future career, in which you’re your own boss. The upside for teenage entrepreneurship is truly limitless, and motivated teens should feel encouraged to try their hand at a startup, knowing today is the ideal time for teenagers to make a real splash in the business world, with countless resources to help support their success.
Choose something you truly believe in
As you prepare for your first attempt at entrepreneurship, it’s incredibly important that you choose something you truly believe in or have a passion for. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that you’re going to be spending most of your time on this idea. If you don’t love or believe in your idea, you simply won’t have the drive, dedication, and passion to stick it out, through the obstacles and setbacks, to finally arrive at that success.
When you embark on a startup, it won’t only occupy your time, but it will also occupy your mind. Plan to pursue something that you’re happy to think about 80% of your waking hours…and maybe some of your sleeping hours as well.
Understand your chosen industry
While there are some aspects of entrepreneurship you can’t control, taking the time to fully research and understand your chosen industry is one you can. Since there will almost always be competitors and similar companies out there, the best way to get a leg up on the competition is to do your homework and have a better grasp of the industry than anyone else. The better you understand your industry, the better you’ll understand your customers, the other options and solutions out there, competitor pricing, industry-specific marketing strategies, and the better you’ll be able to ensure your company stands out above the others.
Don’t let lack of funds slow you down
While it might seem like every other startup out there needs millions in funding to get off the ground, this really isn’t the case; in fact, most business ideas can get started or at least get to proof of concept with very little funding at all. However, if you can create a mock-up of your idea, outline the business plan and revenue model, and present a pitch deck to investors, you just may get the funding you need to turn your initial proof of concept into a real, scalable business.
Stay focused on your dream
As you’ll have many distractions that come up while attempting to build your business, you’ll need to maintain your focus on your dream and the goals you have for your company. You can’t look around at what other people are doing and compare your level of success or progress to theirs since everyone is on a different path. The best way to move forward efficiently when building a business is to keep a narrow focus on the task and goal at hand.
Don’t forget to network
Starting a business at any time in your life can feel lonely, but one cure for that loneliness that will also help sales and open up a world of new opportunities is to get out there and network. As a teen, you may feel shy, hesitant to network, or as if you’re lacking in something due to your age; this is an irrational fear, as people (customers and investors alike) actually prefer to hear from and help out young aspiring entrepreneurs.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
While you can be a solo founder, startups are a collaborative effort, and you should embrace the help, connections, and partnerships available through your network and the people who support your idea. No founder should cripple the success of their business by limiting it to the skills, talents, and resources they individually possess. In fact, the entire accelerator, incubator, crowdfunding, and venture capital communities were built on founders and startups seeking out help, in terms of advice, resources, or funding.
That said, seeking out capital isn’t the only time to ask for help. If you have friends, family, or peers who could lend a hand to one aspect of your business, you’ll be much better off for having outsourced those tasks to the people who are really great at them. Along these lines, you can create more opportunities by partnering with others.
Adapt to change
When building a startup, or any product or service, for that matter, the only constant is change, and the only way to succeed through future changes is to respond and adapt to them. Competitors will come out with new products, the problem itself might change, the target market might change, and so on.
You need to keep a pulse on your industry, your customers, and your competitors, and always think a few steps ahead with a plan to adapt to impending changes that may affect your business.
Don’t let failure stop you
One great thing about starting a company as a teen is that the stakes are not all that high, and there’s plenty of time for a course-correction or a redo altogether. As a teen, you probably don’t shoulder the financial responsibility of taking care of a household and providing for your family. If your parents have the basics covered, you can feel a lot freer in knowing the outcome of your startup doesn’t have huge financial consequences for you or your family.
For teens who are interested in starting businesses, now is a perfect time, as there have never been more resources out there to support them in these entrepreneurial pursuits. Any motivated teen with the drive and determination to see a project from inception to completion and avoid getting derailed by obstacles and setbacks is a perfect candidate for a future entrepreneur and CEO. The beautiful thing about entrepreneurship is that it truly is accessible to everyone nowadays, and many more teens are taking advantage of this opportunity and bringing their own innovation into the marketplace.