You don’t have to be past high school to get a jump on your life. In fact, your younger years are the perfect time to explore the possibilities of running your own business. Today, we look at some tips that can help you inch a few steps closer to reaching your professional goals before you have your diploma in hand.
Get a mentor
In high school, you likely have someone you consider a mentor. This might be a teacher, coach, or guidance counselor. When you enter the world as a young professional, you will also want people with more experience than you on your side. Forbes asserts that mentorship is essential in business. You can use your mentor as a guide as you make decisions early in your career. If you're not sure where to begin your search for a mentor, programs like Leangap can help you connect with professionals who want to help you build and grow your business.
Understand your finances
Something all business owners must know is how to manage money. As a young person, you likely want to spend on fun and social opportunities. But, as a future entrepreneur, you may be able to put your money to better use by tracking your expenses and keeping to a budget. Although you may not have to have a great deal of money to start your first small business, there are many expenses that you’re likely to incur. Camino Financial explains that these include market research, inventory, a website, and legal advice.
Enroll in guidance programs
There are many guidance and support programs online or in-person that can walk you through your first start-up. As a student, you will learn to pitch ideas and create minimum viable products in all real-life situations. And, throughout the process, you will refine your ideas and learn how to generate traction. Finally, you’ll have an opportunity to pitch your new company to investors. One such option is Leangap, a summer program that allows students to connect with mentors who will show them how to build and grow their businesses, which, in turn, will help introduce them to the core principles of entrepreneurship.
Choose your degree
If you haven’t already begun looking at colleges, now’s the time to do so. As you settle into life as a future entrepreneur, you’ll want to have the education that can take you the distance. A degree in business – there are many different business degrees, including administration, human resources, and accounting – that can give you the fundamental tools you need to achieve success (and accept failures) along the way.
Refine your problem-solving skills
As an entrepreneur, you have to have problem-solving skills, including having the ability to apply emotional intelligence to all situations. You must also know how to define your problems so that you can take action. There are many ways to improve your problem-solving skills starting now. Ideas from the Center for Management & OrganizationEffectiveness include maintaining an idea journal, physical exercise, and playing logic games.
Pay attention to what people want
The best way to find success in any market is to carve out your niche. This means that you target a smaller group of potential customers with a particular product or service that’s most likely to be attractive to them. In today’s digital age, you can use the internet to do keyword searches and research trends within the market you plan to enter. This will help you best refine your idea so that you can specialize in your industry and position yourself as an expert.
You don’t have to look far to find examples of youthful entrepreneurs (some as young as seven) that are carving out their place in their respective markets. Just because you’re not old enough to drive, vote, or stay out past curfew does not mean that you can’t get your foot in the door of entrepreneurship now. As a young adult, every step you take will help you get ahead in college, business, and beyond.