Thoughts and imagination can linger when it comes to the romantic idea of big returns from a small business. Experience tells a lot. While many may take the first concrete steps to realizing their dream business, only few manage to thrive in the business world. What could have happened along the way? Running a business is not all about earning huge profits. Of course, this should be an important aim, but what spells success from failures is rooted from a strong sense of discipline, creativity and stamina. And this is just one of the few lessons that many teen entrepreneurs have learned as they have found their own niches in the business world.
What Teen Entrepreneurs Say about Business:
According to Amy Rosen, CEO of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, “Starting your own business is more than just buying things and trying to sell them.” This is very true, and business kids just know what she meant.
Moving forward in this article, I’d like to present to you the rudiments of business according to the young entrepreneurs who have participated in a USA TODAY poll. If you want to succeed in business, here are some of their tips:
1. Don’t Allow Your Shortcomings to Prevent You from Fulfilling Your Business Dream
“Everyone — from those with learning disabilities to those earning national scholastic honors — has the ability to become an entrepreneur”, says Mark Victor Hansen, author of the soon-to-be-released book, The Richest Kids In America: How They Earn It, How They Spend It, How You Can, Too.
Self-pity has no room in the business world. Everyone is created unique and talented. So, explore your possibilities and find your niche to success.
2. Explore Opportunities by Exploring Your Interests
Lucas Rice, an 18 year old entrepreneur who runs a successful landscaping business in Loveland, Ohio says: “Find a task (or) work you like and that is in demand… With my business, I like to be outdoors and to work with my hands, which was one of the reasons I chose landscaping.”
Business should be anchored on your interests. While earning big profit is understandably an aim, the means to achieve it becomes very fulfilling. That is, if the nature of the business that you choose is one that you love doing.
3. Develop a Formal Business Plan.
A good way to start your business is to have a well-written business plan.
“Put it all on paper in an organized and accurate fashion,” says NFTE’s Rosen.
4. Scour for Savings.
Well, you can never go wrong by walking the extra mile to go “window-shopping” for great deals.
Rosen cites this example to illustrate her point on savings: Leanna Archer of Leanna’s Inc. surfs the Web to find the best prices on everything from ingredients to product containers. “Kids who buy supplies should also negotiate for discounts.”
5. Be Wise on Pricing.
“Feel around and see what other companies are charging, then price competitively“, Rice says. “When you’re starting out, go a little lower in price in order to start capturing some customers.”
Hence, don’t go guessing about your prices. Doing a little research about your competitor’s prices gives you a better position in the competition.
6. Make Taxes less Taxing.
As cited in Strategic Growth Concepts: “Save every work-related receipt. Those expenses could become tax write-offs. IRS.gov has details on dependents, such as children, filing tax returns.”
7. Formulate a Sound Financial Plan.
Archer’s formula for allocating the money she makes is she sets aside half of her earnings in a college fund, and a quarter of her total earnings is reinvested in the business. The remaining quarter goes to a charitable cause to help kids in Haiti, where her family is from.
8. Avoid Over-Investing in Supplies/Equipment.
Rice re-echoes this advice that he has received from others: “Allow your business to grow, and then grow your equipment into your business.” His first investment was a riding mower which he bought when he was 12 years old (bought at a yard sale with savings from a newspaper route). He bought more equipment as his customer base grew.
9. Do not Wait Business to Come to You.
In other words, promote your business and yourself.
“Seek business; do not wait for it to come to you,” says Rice. “I go and welcome new people in the neighborhood and offer my services and give out business cards.” Archer promotes herself and her products on the Web, as well as through fliers she places into shipments to customers.
10. Know the Rules.
To avoid any entanglements related to labor regulations when hiring young workers (if you intend to hire one), you should check the YouthRules section at the Department of Labor’s website at youthrules.dol.gov. It provides federal and state labor regulations for youth workers.
Indeed there is so much that we can learn from younger generations of entrepreneurs such as the ones mentioned above. For those wishing to become successful entrepreneurs, stick to your dreams and work to make them come true.