Are you a youth entrepreneur? If you are, then you will definitely know some of the issues that us youth entrepreneurs have to face. I have listed some of the few issues I have dealt with in the past and how I resolved them. Here we go:
1. Figuring out what you want to do
You have somehow figured out that you want to start a business but are unsure about what service or product you want to sell. Here are some questions you should consider while choosing your industry.
- What are you good at?
- What do you enjoy doing?
- What are you passionate about?
If you are one of the people who do not know what they enjoy until they have tried it, I recommend joining a non-profit organization and trying out new roles or in different industries to figure out what you like.
2. You don’t have enough experience
Have you ever made a sales pitch, out of class? Don’t you just hate it when the person across the table says you don’t have enough experience? I have encountered this problem and eventually figured out a solution. Before I reveal the answer, what you should consider is where the person is coming from. Just think about it, would you buy a product or service from a 17- year-old? Probably not! So, why should they? How will they benefit from it? If you wouldn’t buy something from yourself, why would anyone else?
Now onto the solving that problem. While you are introducing yourself, let the person know that you are just starting up and are working on your portfolio. Don’t go to the biggest company in town and expect to get an order for 100 units. Start small because most small-business owners are looking to save money and get quality. While you are telling them that this is for your portfolio, include that you are willing to offer them a discount and higher product quality. This shows that you are honest with your clients.
If you are not convinced in your ability to deliver a good service or product, you should hold off on acquiring clients and spend some time on learning and making sure that you can offer a service or product better than your competitors.
3. Raising money for your idea
Handling student loans and investing in a business can be very challenging. Before you drop the idea because it costs too much, remember that successful people take risks and never quit. I am not saying that it will be easy to accomplish, but if you quit, you may regret the decision. So, how do you raise money? One option is getting a job. Save enough money to make a prototype, but not to leave you on the streets at the same time. Once you have a prototype, contact a business consultant and they can guide you in the right direction to set up meetings with investors.
If you are trying to make the next big product that will cost lots of money, you probably cannot afford to invest in it yourself. There are some things to consider when meeting with investors. Why should they invest in you and your product? What’s in it for them? What kind of reputation do they have? And always do your research before revealing details about your product.
4. Handling a “no”
Taking a rejection can be hard sometimes, but how do you make sure it does not bring down your motivation? First, DO NOT quit. Reality is, you will most likely have more no’s than yes’ and that can be good. Every successful person in the world has taken a lot of no’s and what makes them different is that they did not quit. What should you do after you have made the best sales pitch and get a no? Don’t push it. Ever get that telemarketing call with the annoying sales guy that just won’t stop after you have said no a billion times. Don’t be that guy.
When you find the people, you want as your customers, make a connection with them and build trust. Think about this, would you buy a product from someone you do not trust? Most likely not. How do you build this trust? Ask questions about themselves and then pitch your idea in a way that it is personalized for them; This makes them feel special. A good way to avoid no’s is to not ask the person that does not fit your targeted demographic.
These are just some of the issues I have experienced myself and have seen others go through. As long as you try your best and do not quit, no one can stop you. Network with people, this helps you get out of your comfort zone and allows you to learn from their experiences. Hope this helps you overcome your issues as a youth entrepreneur.
Picture titled, "untitled (1 of 4)", taken by UNCG Research on October 16, 2014, obtained through Creative Commons (https://flic.kr/p/ppNmhC)