You’ll see the occasional story in the news about a young person, perhaps a teenager, who has started their own business and made it into a runaway success. However, as inspiring as these stories might be, the reality is that this is a rare event (which is why it’s such an exciting news story), and for most people, it takes a little more time to be able to start a business and make it work.
However, that’s not to say that a teen can’t start preparing and get ready to run their own business in the future – in fact, the earlier someone starts, the better, as they’ll have a lot more resources and skills in place, so their business is more likely to be a successful one. With that in mind, here are some ways that a teenager can get ready to start their own business, even if the launch is many years away right now.
Photo by cottonbro studio
Develop Essential Skills
When you start a business, you’ll need to have a wide range of different skills at your disposal, from being able to communicate with a wide range of different people, to knowing how to negotiate, as well as financial skills, marketing, customer service, and much more. Most people won’t know how to do any of these things when they’re just starting out, which is why you can start developing these essential skills when you’re a teenager, meaning you’ll be ready to run your business the right way from the start once you get older and feel ready to take the next step.
Problem-solving is a big part of business, for example, and that’s a skill you can develop in your teens – in fact, when you’re at school, you might already be problem-solving without even knowing it. Think about your day in the classroom and how you come up with answers to problems after analyzing them and thinking of ways to move forward. This is exactly what you’ll need to do in business, albeit on a larger scale, so pay attention when you’re thinking things through.
Communication is another crucial business skill, and it’s a difficult one to get right when you’re just starting, especially when you have to know how to communicate in different ways with different people. By joining clubs and getting involved in different activities at school (and outside of school), you’ll have a lot more opportunities to meet different people and learn how to communicate with them.
Time management is yet another skill that all entrepreneurs have to have; imagine trying to get everything done and keep your customers happy if you can’t stick to a schedule and keep to deadlines. When you juggle school, extracurricular activities, and homework, and ensure you also take time to rest, you’ll essentially be doing what you’ll need to do in business. If you find this hard, try blocking out specific times to do certain activities, and make sure you take plenty of breaks when you can – as you get older, keep this in mind and switch school for business, and you should be in a good place to be successful.
Learn From Failure
There is one thing that all entrepreneurs have to be aware of; they need to learn from their failures – plus, they need to know they will fail (it’s inevitable, even with the best planning). That doesn’t mean your business won’t eventually be successful, and it doesn’t mean that most of it won’t work well, but it does mean that you’ll make mistakes and things will happen (sometimes things that are out of your control) and you’ll fail in some way, either big or small.
The thing about failure is that it can really be the best teacher, as long as you know what you’re meant to be learning and how to see the positive in any situation. When you’re a teenager, before you’ve actively launched your business, you’ll experience all kinds of different failures, but the crucial thing is that they’ll all be relatively low-risk (for the most part, at least). You might fail a driving test, or perhaps you don’t get as good a grade as you wanted. Maybe you get cut from a sporting team, or perhaps you ask someone to prom only to be turned down. In the grand scheme of things, these are small failures, but they’ll feel big at the time, and they’ll give you a chance to learn so much – by the time you do start your business, you’ll be in a much better place to do so.
One thing your mistakes and failures can teach you is resilience. When you fail in your teens, you’ll be up a great level of resilience – you’ll learn to bounce back from setbacks and keep going, perhaps trying new ways of getting the results you want or learning new skills to help you do it right the next time. When you’re a business owner, this kind of resilience will help you hugely.
You’ll also become better at risk management because, as you try to avoid mistakes and failure, you’ll start to assess the risks associated with your actions and decisions, and when it comes to business, this is vital. You’ll soon know that getting the latest refrigeration contractor software is a good idea, for example, or that there’s a lot of risk involved in re-branding (perhaps too much risk). Over time, and if you start learning from your failures early enough and really paying attention to those lessons, you’ll instinctively know how to improve your business and make it successful.
Build A Network
Something else that no successful business owner can be without is a good network behind them. An issue that some business owners find, however, is that it takes a lot of hard work and time to build that network up and find the right people to connect with, and that means they have to take time away from running their business. It’s either that or they try to go it alone and don’t network, which can cause a lot of problems and slow your business growth down.
What’s the answer? The answer is to start building your network as early as possible, and that might be when you’re a teen and a good few years away from actually starting your business. The more you can connect with people early on, the more people you’ll have around you when you’re ready to launch, and that support could make all the difference between success and failure. Even if the people you’re connected with can’t help you in real terms, they can still be there to help you on an emotional and mental level, and that can sometimes be enough.
If you start networking early on, you’ll have plenty of time to put the right amount of effort into the job and find as many useful people to connect with as possible. You might even find a mentor to work with, or a partner who can help you build your business more quickly when the time comes. No matter what connections you make, starting early gives you the best chance of building up a good number of them. Learn from them, listen to their advice, avoid their mistakes, and you’ll find you stand a good chance of success.
When you’re a teenager, the idea of working, and especially the idea of running your own business, might seem far off, but the time will definitely come around, and if you can be as prepared as possible, you’ll be ready when you need to be.