5 Things Every Young Entrepreneur Needs to Know
Young entrepreneurs, those in their teens and early twenties, enjoy a level of energy and physical resilience that is unmatched. Those two things let you devote an almost absurd amount of time to your business, which helps it succeed. What that energy can’t do is replace a little hard-won experience. With that in mind, here are a few things you need to know.
Waiting to start your new business until you know more is a lot like “waiting for the right moment” to have a difficult conversation. Just as the “right moment” never arrives, you’ll never know enough. Unless there is some legal hurdle to jump, like securing a professional license, the time to start is right now. Yes, you’ll need to keep learning. What you’ll discover is that the learning is driven by your business’s needs, which is the most practical kind of learning for a new entrepreneur.
Employees: Hire Right and Keep Them Happy
You may start out as a one-person business, but growth almost always demands hiring employees. There is a balance to be struck when it comes to hiring. Yes, the person must have the necessary skills, but they also need to fit the culture you want for the business. If you’re looking for a laid back and zany culture, hyper-professional types won’t fit. If you want a culture of business-first, free spirits will chafe against the social norms. Once you’ve assembled your team, make an effort to keep them happy. Reward achievements and arrange special events for the entire staff. Happy employees work harder.
Distraction is the bane of more than one would-be entrepreneur. When you have a seemingly endless stream of great ideas, it’s very easy to divert energy from your current project to a new one. Then it happens again and again. This is called the shiny object syndrome, though it’s not an official condition. Getting a business set up, running and profitable requires almost fanatical devotion. Rather than pursuing all your other ideas, write them down. Once you’ve got the business established, you can delegate the lion’s share of responsibility and turn your attention to the next idea.
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Mind the Numbers
Every business is riddled with numbers and you need to pay attention to them. The most glaringly obvious numbers are cash related. Things like start-up costs, inventory and payroll spring to mind. Other equally important, but less glaringly obvious, numbers include your key performance indicators. A somewhat over-simplified way to think of KPIs is to consider them as things that drive results. An example would be the conversion rate of website visitors to warm leads or warm leads to paying customers. If you aren’t paying attention to the numbers, you’re
Hone Your People Skills or Find a Sociable Partner
Entrepreneurship involves a shocking amount of talking and much of it with strangers. You need to be able to direct employees, talk to vendors and woo likely investors. Plus, you’ll need to do all of that networking. This can be a living nightmare for some introverts. If people skills aren’t your strong suit, it’s time to start exercising those atrophied social skills. The other option is to find someone charismatic that you trust and partner with them.
Starting your own business is often exciting, frequently stressful and utterly dependent on your leadership. Surround yourself with talented people and reward their efforts. Don’t let shiny object syndrome divide your focus. Keep a close watch on the numbers. Embrace your social side or partner with a talker. Most importantly of all, have some fun while you do it.