Here are five pieces of advice for young people looking to start
a business now!
1. You have nothing to lose!
There are challenges for any entrepreneur in business today in the current economic climate but is it more difficult for young entrepreneurs? Being young gives us a huge advantage! First of all, we have either very little to lose or nothing to lose whatsoever.
One of the barriers for older people is that if you start in business around age 40 for example, it is likely you have a mortgage and a young family and if you end up losing everything then you will be threatening the roof over your family's head and their overall security in general. That makes the decision to break out on your own that much harder to make.
Being young and independent often means you don't have to consider your spouse or your children because you don't have them (yet!). This makes the risky decisions you have to take are much easier. For example, I have taken small business loans and if I don't keep up the repayments, the worst thing that can happen is that I lose what I've got (including my credit rating) - which isn't much as I haven't had the years behind me at this early stage in my life to build up a portfolio of assets.
Being young is the best time to get into business! For me, I had nothing to lose!
2. Borrowing money from banks
So, with that said, I still had to convince bankers to lend me money. I have found that they treat me with respect providing I treat them with respect in return.
I have always made sure I have a secure business plan and that I look credible. Get help with this if you think your own business plan might fall short of being absolutely perfect - ask an expert - that's what I did before I rushed in and risked making a fool of myself.
This goes for any entrepreneur though - unless you have a foolproof presentation when you want money you simply won't get it! It makes no difference how old you are - if your idea makes sense, you won't have a problem.
3. Know your stuff!
I have had a few run-ins with people who have been a bit patronising as I am young. They think I 'don't understand' but I do! For any young entrepreneur, you have to know your stuff better than anyone. If this means you have to immerse yourself in tons of books and read newspapers, watch the news and so on to keep yourself up to date, then that's what you have to do.
If you can demonstrate that you have the knowledge you need, they cannot pull the wool over your eyes! Make it clear you know what you are doing and be confident about yourself and your product or service. Knock them dead, it works every time.
4. People are curious!
I have found that I get appointments to see the people I want to see very easily. They are very curious when a young person calls them up boldly and wants a meeting. They want to see who this person is at the end of the phone full of enthusiasm and proposing an interesting idea (or whatever it is you do). We won't be young forever so make the most of it!
5. Ask for help.
People love being asked to help. I certainly do and I feel flattered when people ask me to help them. Young entrepreneurs need help as they don't know everything. They want to know everything NOW but in order to do so, it does mean you have to work twice as hard sometimes. If you can find someone that knows the thing you want to know, ask them. They will probably agree and it will give you a shortcut and save heaps of time.
There should be no barrier for any young person wanting to start a business in today's climate. We have nothing to compare it to - we can't say "well, 10 years ago it would have been much easier because…".
I was still at school 10 years ago so I don't know what it was like then so I can't make excuses and whine about 'the old days' being long gone - perhaps in another 10 years from now I will look back and say how hard it was, or maybe it might be even harder in 10 years time, who knows. But whatever life throws at you, you have to work with it and the best thing to do is expect the best!
To the future!