Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 by Jenna Bellassai
Clockwise from top left: Sabirul Islam, Jalen Brown, Meradith Leebrick, Vlad Tudose
All entrepreneurs had to start somewhere, and young adults are paving the way. If you’re considering becoming an entrepreneur, it’s a good idea to first read the advice of other young entrepreneurs who were in your position once before. In this article, we synthesize the advice of more experienced entrepreneurs as well as words of wisdom from some of the young entrepreneurs we’ve featured on Taking on the Giant.
Just Starting Out
Build a business around what you know and love, not a whim that seems profitable but doesn’t interest you. Enthusiasm is often the key for a new idea to take flight.
Research the field you will go into to make sure you know what you’re talking about and that you don’t make ill-informed decisions. If you’d like to start a non-profit organization benefitting honeybees, make sure that you know all there is to know about the honeybee before you move forward. In addition, it wouldn’t hurt to know about non-profit management and growth.
Take entrepreneurial risks while you are still young. Now is the time to throw caution to the wind. Make sure that your risks are calculated, but don’t be afraid to take them.
Simplify your idea until it is financially reasonable. Any endeavor will take funding, so it’s important to consider cost from the start. Be frugal when planning your initial actions, especially because you’re likely to be starting on a very limited budget.
Be creative about what you can do with the resources available to you. With a little bit of ingenuity, a little money can go a long way.
Be honest about your idea’s capability, but aim to exceed expectations to gather attention. It’s not a good idea to exaggerate your idea’s potential because this exaggeration can result in the idea falling short of the claims made to investors. Pitch your idea confidently but honestly so that in the event your idea is more successful than your realistic prediction, you will receive more attention.
Putting Your Idea in Motion
Avoid getting side-tracked. Focus on one venture to start. If you have too much on your plate, it will be difficult for any one concept to get off the ground.
A backup plan can cost you. Having a safety net (such as a more secure job on the side of your entrepreneurial venture) may be detrimental to your efforts because it takes your focus off your own pursuits.
Construct a supportive and productive team around you who can help with the difficulties you encounter along the way. There’s no rule that you have to run your businessalone; in fact, having reliable partners is essential for both your business’s success and your sanity.
Find a concise way to state your business’s mission and goals. You will need to be ready to pitch your ideas accurately and briefly to anyone with whom you come in contact.
Don’t give up the project just because of some minor setbacks. It is more than likely that getting discouraged will be part of the process. Try to view small failures as opportunities for reflection and growth.
Be prepared for your industry’s landscape to change at any moment. In the technological age, consumer interests are changing more frequently than ever before. Entrepreneurs who are flexible and open to new possibilities will have an advantage over their competitors.
Take care with your hygiene. Exercise and eat well. Get enough sleep. Potential partners and correspondents will take notice.
Continuing Growth and Success
Be genuine and enthusiastic about your venture. This is your idea, so let others know how passionate you are about it.
Consider making a profit to be a high priority. If your idea is ever going to take off, you will need to be able to sell it to investors based on your money-making potential.
Be prepared to call it quits in the event that things don’t go according to plan. You can apply what you’ve learned from past failures to future business endeavors.
Accept that you don’t know everything, and be willing to learn from more experiencedindividuals. As a young entrepreneur, you already have the spirit and energy necessary for your idea, but you should always be open to gaining perspectives from those who have been in business for years.
Advice from Entrepreneurs on TakingOnTheGiant.com
Vlad Tudose, creator of Puzzled.by
“If you believe in your product, it’s worth trying anything. For a platform such as mine, all you need is a designer and a programmer. You need people to believe in the project, first and foremost.”
Sabirul Islam, motivational speaker and author of two books advising young entrepreneurs
“No matter how simple or difficult an idea is, it’s important that people from around the world are creating positive change, acting as role models for others and guiding each other towards their dreams and goals.”
Meradith Leebrick, co-founder of Abriendo Mentes, non-profit organization empowering people in Costa Rica
“What’s most important is to be bold, and believe in yourself, as cliché or frightening as it may sound. If you have passion, and a great idea, just do it… the unknown is your friend. Often it’s better to be slightly naïve about what the future holds, because if you knew how much work it took to achieve, you may not set off to accomplish your dream in the first place!”
Jalen Brown, 18, the National Vice-President of the Future Educators Association and the founder of the Student Ambassador Association (SAA)
“Fight for what you believe in. The world is vast with its many problems but it’s when people like us, who try to make a difference that matters most. It will take one of us to find a cure for cancer, yet the cure will help millions of individuals. Our small imprints on the world may seem insignificant, but if one is helped, the job is done. A good trick to making a difference is to find and model after someone who has done it before. ‘Strive to be better than whoever you look up to, and one day someone will look up to you.’”
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