Starting a business is hard, harder than many would-be CEOs anticipate. There are countless variables and challenges. Mess up just one piece of the puzzle and the whole business can fall flat. Here’s a few tips to help young entrepreneurs beat the odds.
1. Fail fast.
You’re going to fail, no doubt about it. The trick is to fail fast. It’s much better to fail in the concept phase of business than after you’ve invested thousands of dollars and hours into a bad idea. So work out the problems early, and fail often. The more you fail early on, the more likely you will recognize and overcome obstacles later.
2. Don’t fake it.
You don’t know everything, so don’t try to act like you do. When you don’t know the answer to a key question, don’t guess. And never make assumptions. Blundering along without asking for help is a recipe for business disaster. So ask stupid questions, and surround yourself with people who know the answers. Then listen to them.
3. Know your customers before you start selling.
It seems obvious, right? You might think there’s a market for pink riding lawn mowers out there, but if you don’t get out there and ask your customers what they really want, you could be catastrophically wrong. Maybe they’d rather have purple mowers. Figure out exactly what your customers want before you break out the pink paint, and you’ll save yourself from countless headaches later on.
4. Don’t get caught up in the fluff.
Starting a business is a trendy thing to do. And as you get going, you’ll find some people just want to tag along for the ride without contributing to the end goal: creating a viable, profitable business. No matter how cool your old college roommate is, if he can’t bring any skills to the table, he shouldn’t be a part of your business.
5. Don’t stop believing.
Starting a business and making it successful will be one of the hardest tasks you ever tackle. Don’t give up at the first sign of trouble. This is a long, painstaking process, but the reward if you make it is oh so sweet.
There you have it. Five tips for young entrepreneurs. Do all these things, and you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful business.