Being an entrepreneur isn't the easiest thing, especially in high school. "Who takes a teenager seriously when they say they want to launch a startup?" Right?... Wrong! Teenagers can do a lot more than just attend high school and play video games. In fact, Gen-Zers are 55% more likely to want to start a business than Millennials, according to Forbes. The truth is, being a high schooler isn't impossible to become an entrepreneur, and even better, you may have a few things in your favor that you can leverage.
Gen Z, we've got you! Just follow our lead and take the first step to start working on your ideas like a true entrepreneur. Pro tip: Start working on your patience... You're going to need a lot of it.
1. Become a pro at detecting problems
Every day comes with at least one problem. But don't worry, for a true entrepreneur like you, that's actually pretty great! Some of the biggest companies you know: Facebook, Airb&b... They're all solving some kind of problem; even meme generators are! So, the next time you, a family member or a friend has some problem, even the smallest, keep it in mind, write it down if you will, because that, my friend, is where business begins.
2. Would there be an audience?
It is not enough to know that there is a problem. You need to see if it occurs regularly to other people, and even more, where the pain points are. But how are you likely to determine that? Fortunately, there's one place everyone goes to express their feelings and complain about everything that's wrong with the world: We call it Twitter. Social media, in general, might be your starting point. Thank goodness you're a teenager and know exactly how to use these tools! On the other hand, if you want to dive more into your role as a high school entrepreneur and dig deeper, you can conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups, and whatever else will help you get to the specific pain points of the problem.
3. Create your buyer persona
Now you know what the pain points are and who would most likely be interested in something that solves them. So it's time to create your potential customer profile (buyer persona). Include as detailed information as you can about the commonalities between people who have this problem, so you know who you will be solving it for.
Cover age, likes, dislikes, frustrations, routine, even give it a name and a face! In some cases, you may need to create more than one buyer persona. Leangap marketing mentor Sebastián Salazar suggests that you create a character with a specific job, work and family context, education level, with goals, motivations, pain points, challenges, and their own objectives. The more detailed, the better.
4. Find an optimal solution
It is time for you to sit down; you can invite some friends to help you on this one. As a high school student, you can even use your classes. If it has to do with a topic you are covering in class, ask your teacher to help you with it.
Present the problem and ask for solutions. At this point, you are not concerned with quality, but quantity, so any ideas are welcome. You should only spend about 10 to 15 minutes on this stage. Of course, make sure you write everything down.
5. Refine and add a value proposition
Now that you have all these ideas, you will find many things you had not thought of. It's time to move from quantity to quality. You'll filter these ideas, make sure they match your buyer persona, mix them up to end up with the most optimal solution, and give it a twist! Your solution should stand out from others. This will make your customer choose your product over the rest.
Your solution should stand out from others. This will make your customer choose your product over the rest.
6. The moment of truth: is there an audience? Part 2
At this stage, you only need validation only from people who fit your buyer persona. You will again conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups... But this time to validate that your solution is something people would pay for. If the validation comes back negative, that's a good thing too! Now you're not going to develop, market, and launch a product that no one will buy; you just need to go back to step 5 as many times as necessary. However, if your validation comes out positive... Celebrate, my friend! But remember, you still have a long way to go.
Follow the process by using the resources you have available to you as a high schooler: You interact with many people of different ages on a daily basis, which is perfect for identifying, validating, and even brainstorming problems. Leverage your easy use of all social media platforms to do early validation; even creating a strategy through memes could work, and, let's face it, it would be fun to try. If you feel like some help could be useful or want to be sure about every step of the process, join Leangap! In one summer, you'll learn everything you need to know to launch your first startup.
Here's how you can take advantage of being a high school entrepreneur! If you follow these simple steps, you should be able to bring your awesome idea to life... But that's a conversation for another day.