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How to become an entrepreneur at a young age?

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Youngsters need to explore their entrepreneurial passion.

“Being an entrepreneur isn’t really about starting a business. It’s a way of looking at the world, seeing opportunity where others see obstacles, taking risks when others take refuge.” — Michael Bloomberg.

Because age is not a barrier to starting your business or beginning your entrepreneurial journey, here’s how you can become an entrepreneur as early as after 12th grade.

Did you know?

➔ Tilak Mehta, a 16-year-old who developed an app-based courier service in Mumbai called Papers n Parcels.

➔ Divya Gandotra Tandon, an 18-year-old who founded a news and media organization called Scoop Beats Pvt. Ltd.

With the advancement in technology and increased access to capital, entrepreneurship is a path of choice for many youngsters. When this choice is channelized correctly, it helps individuals develop a mindset that excels in creativity & leadership as they are highly motivated to succeed while being open to the risk of failure.

An individual can unlock the entrepreneur within by:

1. Ideating

2. Investigating

3. Piloting

4. Improving

1. Ideating

The most challenging part of a business is to arrive at a good idea. It is not advisable to put pressure on oneself with the “right” idea on the first try. It takes effort and iterations to arrive at the winning idea. Don’t be afraid of failure. Take failure as the stepping stone to success.

The intent should never be about coming up with a million-dollar idea. It should be about working on something you are passionate about. At the same time, passion is not the only ingredient for success. The trick is to uncover a winning idea by combining something you are passionate about with what people need or want. Family and friends can provide insights when it comes to advising on where you excel (or don’t)!

Once you have shortlisted a few viable ideas, consider if you need any additional education, certificates, or experiences to start your business. Be it how to create high potential startups or build scalable startups etc.

With these inputs, reach out to a mentor. A good mentor can inspire, motivate, connect and guide and is someone you look up to. He has done what you want to do. Ask them how they did it. This will help you avoid mistakes.

Ideating

2. Investigating

It is time to ask yourself some tough questions.

a) Is this a feasible business opportunity?

➔ Is there a market for the product or service you plan to offer?

➔ What customer or market needs will the business solve?

➔ What is your value add?

➔ Are there many players already in the same space?

If your investigation tells you that the business may not be feasible, then it is time to go back to the drawing board!

b) How much will it cost to get the business going?

It is important to calculate cost overheads with as much accuracy as possible to build scalable startups.

Investigating

3. Piloting

With the tough questions answered and the business plan prepared, it is time to test the business idea with real customers if they would purchase the product or service – friends and family do not count.

Along with customer validation, the involvement with a group of fellow aspiring entrepreneurs to brainstorm ideas, navigate challenges and share expertise can come in handy. Entrepreneurship is lonely, so find and build a tribe of aspiring entrepreneurs.

It is important to remember that the path to becoming an entrepreneur is never linear – tons of unexpected twists and turns. There is a need to be flexible. However, the key is to have a plan, refer to it and update it regularly.

With this plan, it is time to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) basis market and customer feedback on the business idea. Then, do whatever it takes to get the first sale – be door to door, cold calls or individual emails. It is time to get the word out with an elevator pitch and start selling. The art of persuasion is an important lesson learnt through entrepreneurship education.

Finally, an entrepreneur needs to network with potential customers, partners, and employees actively.

Piloting

4. Improving

All individuals need to accept that failure and criticism are part of their entrepreneurial journey. One needs to use it to their advantage.

➔ Critiques and feedback help one to learn and get better.

➔ Iterate, iterate and iterate until one succeeds. You need to tweak and improve as you go.

➔ Keep a growth mindset by seeking advice or hiring people with different points of view.

The life of an entrepreneur is never easy, but it is rewarding. As a young entrepreneur, the best is yet to come.

So, all you have to do is enrol in the Wadhwani NEN’s pro bono, immersive and experiential ‘Ignite’ entrepreneurship program in a team format (min. two members), complete the course and get top certification by an international jury.

Improving

It’s time to try, learn, and ultimately succeed! Apply with your team’s nomination here:

Apply today:

https://entrepreneur.wfglobal.org/ignite/
(For those in later years of the graduate program/ PG students/ working professionals/ pre-incubatees having a validated idea to launch a venture)

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Here is what we mean by a Validated Idea:

  • You have identified a ‘customer type’ that you are dealing with.
  • You have identified a problem that is critical for the that customer type
  • You have validated this problem with a ‘sizable’ set of customers so you know that it is a ‘real problem’
  • Your research and customer discussions shows that There is a large enough number of customers that are looking for a solution to this particular problem, and the venture can be financially viable and feasible
  • There are no apparent existing solutions or good enough solutions that are serving your customer type at this time for the problem
  • May have started working on a website/facebook/Instagram page to get customer reactions
  • May have worked on a prototype solution already
  • May have early traction with some customers