How to start a business as a young entrepreneur
Starting a business is both the most exciting and daunting thing you can do. You’ll either be in it for the millions or close after a month of trying. Either way, the experience you’ll get is second to none and although I had failed in my previous company, I learnt so much more than university ever taught me.
Having an idea
The life of any business is solving a problem that enough people care about to pay for. I often had people ask me how I came up with my ideas, but the answer was simple... I had a problem, and an effective solution didn’t exist.
That’s the basis of most successful businesses. Over 90% of the time, it’s because someone with a bit of ambition has discovered a problem. A favourite quote of mine is actually “Build a start-up around a problem you’ve personally experienced, for customers you understand, and you’ll go farther than 99% of entrepreneurs.” This is something that’s resonated with me throughout my whole journey, and I recommend anyone considering an idea, to ensure the same.
Knowing your market
Research the market and KYC (Knowing Your Customer) are probably more important than the idea itself. If you don’t understand who you’re selling to and what their main problems are, it’s basically impossible to scale your business.
When first starting out, and even more so as you grow, you should always be iterating your idea to cope with market demands. This involves getting into your potential client's faces ‘quite literally’ and asking them questions. Make sure to keep them open-ended and let people talk freely about the problems they face.
Once you’ve understood as much as you can, you can start working on your solution.
Prototypes and MVPs
Time for some fun. You know the problems your potential clients are going to face, but how do you fix them?
We’d recommend having a deep look at what competitors are trying to solve the same problems as you and how they’re doing it. Is there something they’re missing? Are clients happy with the current solutions or what could you do better than anyone else out there?
From here, if your solution is technical (we’re biased), the first step would be to map out, on paper, what it would look like, and which features would help your customers. Then it would be about getting it onto a screen and building your MVP (minimum viable product). The purpose is to start demonstrating this to customers and see if your solution would be a match to their problem.
Cool, you’ve got your idea, all things in the market are positive and your MVP is under development. What next?
Coming up with a name for your business is quite a strange one. Some people would have it already in their mind and some may use a placeholder until they rebrand at a later stage.
There are quite a few websites out there to generate random names, but we found that the best name will come to you naturally. It doesn’t even have to be relevant to what your business sells (take Amazon, for example, Jeff Bezos chose the name because it was “exotic and different.”)
It can, however, vary from industry to industry but a step we’d recommend would be to create a list of competitors, and then look at the name formats they’re using. This could massively help with inspiration, and you may find that something comes to you naturally after it.
If you’ve got the ability to, some companies may choose to do it themselves. Although, we wouldn’t really recommend it. As the centre point of your whole brand, your logo is important.
As always, the key thing to consider would be your customers. What colours are likely to attract them, does it display your brand message, and how unique is it in saturated marketplaces?
A major element in any business is brand consistency. If people see specific colours, they should instinctively think of your business.
This includes all elements of your idea, whether it’s in the public eye or to your own employees. The point is getting your company message out there, and helping people resonate with your mission.
Things to consider here would be email systems, company letterheads, personalised business cards, leaflets or literally anything else that is about your business.
Mistakes to avoid
Thinking that you need funding (Think about what skills you can put into your business, and how much you could achieve without spending any money. Some of the biggest companies today started with a person, a laptop and a WIFI connection.
Thinking you need to write a business plan (So many people will tell you to write out your journey. In your very early stages, this should be the least of your priorities as you should be focusing on your customer and iterating your idea. Once you’ve decided what you need to build, a business plan can help you raise loans, investor funding or help you keep on track, but for now, don’t waste a lot of time on them!)
Waiting for a co-founder. Most entrepreneurs building tech businesses will think they need a technical co-founder to get started. This is no longer the case, and if you have a great idea you need to get started. A lot of the time, the right people will come up during your journey, but not having one (especially at the start) are why so many great ideas never get launched.
Doing nothing. Just get started! If you need any type of support, check out our services and get in touch!