If you are planning to start a business, then now is the right time. Starting early is always a good idea and eighteen is a great age to gear up for a new business. You may be a part of the population who is not interested in doing a 9 to 5 office grind. If so, it is the age of entrepreneurs, and to set out to be your own boss is a great career choice especially if you have got a business idea in mind. If you are wondering how to become an entrepreneur at 18 and want to figure out where to start, check out these points below –
To start a business, it is important to take an initiative. This may sound simple but it is the first step to completing any task before you. Many people have entrepreneurial dreams but they often remain unachieved because they do not take the initiative. You must have strong willpower to take an initiative towards starting a business. The first step may be small or big, but one step forward is better than taking no initiative at all.
- Pitch to Investors
There are always investors looking into investing in promising businesses. If you believe your business could impress such investors, pitch it to them. Before you pitch your business idea, have a thorough understanding of the industry you plan to pursue. Be confident in your subject area. Take time to describe the kind of products and services you will be offering. Let the investors know how you plan to attract customers over time and what strategies you will use to increase your market value. Have a visual presentation ready in case you are asked for it. Make the presentation engaging and informative. It should not be too lengthy or descriptive but with just enough words and images to capture people’s attention.
- Pick a Side Hustle
As starting a business involves a certain level of risk, it is good to have a side hustle when you are just starting out. In the beginning stages of the business, you would have little profit but more expenses piling up. It will take time to accumulate profits as you would need to invest in manpower and machinery to get the product or service up and running. To support your business in these beginning stages, have a side hustle. Your side hustle could be working at a cafe, it could be working at the front desk of an office, or it could be working as a delivery boy. Make sure you can spare enough hours on your side hustle while also making time for your business. Learn how to balance the two till you can give full concentration on your business alone.
You must be productive when starting a business. To ensure that you remain productive, create a to-do list. This will help you keep track of the tasks you have completed and the tasks that are left. It will also help you remember your duties for the day. Learn to cultivate a sense of self-discipline. Disciplining oneself can be learned over time. Have a structure in your daily routine and manage your time well. To remain productive, it is also important to learn to take breaks at regular intervals. If you work without breaks, you may feel burnt out and such could affect your health.
- Set Business Goals
Having a business goal is important. It steers you in the direction you need to go. Classify your goals between short-term and long-term goals. You can start by identifying your yearly goal, then identify your five-year goal. It would also help to note down your ten-year goal. When you have an understanding of where you see your business in the next ten years, you will have a better sense of what you need to do to achieve that goal.
Be creative in your business. The product or service you plan to introduce may be in existence already but your passion and creativity could make it unique. For example, if you are interested in candle making business, come up with unique scents and designs that will impress your demographic. If you are interested in setting up a cafe, figure out the vibe that would fit best with the city’s crowd. A place that would make them feel at home with endless good coffee. Understand your value and seek out your talent. Bank on this talent for your business. Get creative in attracting customers to your business. Use social media platforms and offline approaches as well. Come up with unique ideas and taglines that will capture the interest of your customer base.
- Continue Learning
There is never an end to learning. Every day will be a new lesson as you start your business. Each morning will bring new challenges. When you think you have just overcome one challenge, there will be another one waiting for you. Conquering one challenge after another may get tiresome. But, they are the path that every entrepreneur needs to take so they may grow in their field and be resilient in their business. As you learn more about the ins and out of a business, you may realize how much knowledge you need to really get to the top. Update yourself with the product you are introducing. There may be new features to similar products being introduced in different parts of the world. Stay updated on any such innovations and changes that take place over time. Learn about your competitors and the strategies they are undertaking. What strategies can your company implement to grow? Even thirty or forty years down the line, as technology advances and knowledge increases, you will find that the learning process in a business does not have an end.
Don’t run your business blindly. Have the basic knowledge required to run a business. Get yourself familiar with employee management and finance management. Learn how to take care of the smallest to the biggest tasks in the business. All this will help you become a better leader in the future. It is especially important to bank upon knowledge about the product you are planning to introduce. What got you interested in the product, is it practical, and will it see the expected success? Do your research well. Consult with experts and professionals. Read up about the product and consult former research findings and analysis.
- Build Your Team
Be involved in building your team. Get to know everyone that you plan to hire. Take some time to understand their knowledge and experience. Try to analyze what contribution they would have towards the business. Calculate if your investment in their talent will be worth it. Choose a team that will learn to work towards the business goals efficiently. The team should feel that the business is their project and work on it with passion. Make sure the employee you’re hiring will be able to uphold their responsibility. Conduct a thorough research on the experience and background of the applicants. Check up on references provided by the applicants.
Where necessary, team up with the right partners for the growth of your business. The collaboration could be in regards to business development and marketing. You could collaborate with other brands or influencers who can help you increase your brand recognition. Organize an event with other businesses that are engaged in a similar product category or service you are involved in. When collaborating with companies or individuals, choose people that share your goals and values.
- Understand Your Target Audience
You must understand your target audience. To do this, conduct a survey. Send a team to the area where you will be setting up your business and have them conduct a survey. The survey could determine what people would think of the new business coming up and if they feel such products are necessary. While you define your target audience, it is also important to understand which group will not be part of your target audience. This will help you save time and money. Find out the buyer personas based on different categories. These could be categories such as location, age, gender, employment, and income.
Now that you have some idea of how you can start your business, it is time to get started. Make sure you take the initiative and practice consistent productivity. Keep your customers engaged by introducing new features to your product every now and then. Find loyal customers by being loyal to them too. But before you can find your customer base, do research to understand your target audience. Make sure you set your business goals and objectives. Hold team meetings to remind your employees about these objectives and what can be done to achieve them. With all these tips and more, you can get started on your journey of becoming an entrepreneur at 18.
(For those in later years of the graduate program/ PG students/ working professionals/ pre-incubatees having a validated idea to launch a venture)