I was in my early twenties when I started my first business. In hindsight and almost two decades later, there were so many things I wish I had known when I first started out. I learned many lessons, many in the first few years of business ownership, and some of them were pretty painful! While my lessons learned may not be the same lessons you will learn during your entrepreneurial journey, here are a few of my tips to up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
1. Learn from the Pros
There are so many exceptionally successful entrepreneurs that have come before you. Of course you know the big names such as Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and John D. Rockefeller. Those world famous entrepreneurs are excellent resources. But don’t overlook other entrepreneurs who can share their experiences with you. Consider family members, professors, online experts and even local business owners in your community. Make a list of top resources that are most relevant for you, and start absorbing their knowledge.
2. Get a Mentor
Your list of go-to pros is also a great place to start looking for a mentor. If those resources aren’t the best fit for a mentor, you may need to expand your horizons. An article on Business Collective lists a few go-to places for young entrepreneurs to find mentors, including local events, Chambers of Commerce, business incubators and more. You may also want to use a site like FindAMentor.com to narrow your search even further.
3. Join a Community
If there is a local group for entrepreneurs in your community, it’s a no-brainer that getting involved will help advance your career. If you don’t have a local group that meets in person, there are many online communities that will give you access to both new and experienced entrepreneurs you can learn from. Explore this list of online entrepreneurial communities on Lifehack to get started. You can also conduct a Twitter or Facebook search to see what are groups are available in your specific industry.
4. Know Who You’re Targeting
There are many different parts of preparing for business ownership. You need a business plan, a marketing plan, a financial forecast and many other bits and pieces that will form your strategy. One of the most important pieces of puzzle is developing a solid understanding of exactly who you are targeting. It can be very helpful to create a customer persona that delves into the life and preferences of your ideal customer. Consider age, sex, location, profession, income, tech savvy, buying preferences, mobile use and more to make your persona as specific as possible.
You are young, you are passionate, and you are ready to take the world by storm. Now is the time to take measured risks that have the potential to pay off long-term during your entrepreneurial journey. Start putting yourself out there today as an entrepreneur and you may be amazed at what you’re able to accomplish.