Starting a business takes a lot! Its not just an idea that you need. There is also a huge amount of planning, sacrifice, long hours and creative thinking. You will also need to develop new skills to make your business a success – so constant learning is required. If you are wondering how to start a business at 17 then you have added hurdles to jump because of your age.
Don’t let that discourage you though. Its not as bad as it seems and because at that age, most of what you will spend is time then you will lose nothing by going for it!
In this article, we are going to highlight a few tips on how to start a business at 17 years old.
Having a solid business plan will help you avoid a lot of pitfalls that startup businesses fall into. Factors to consider when writing your business plan include;
Branding: this includes your business name, logo, values and mission. It is important to come up with a brand that customers can easily identify and relate to. Once you settle on a name, you should go ahead and register your business with your local business licensing authority.
Identify your target market: every market is flooded with similar businesses hence highly competitive. You therefore need to identify a market that will be responsive to your products or services.
Business model: you need to determine whether you are going to set up a physical store or will you be venturing into the eCommerce space or will you be incorporating both? Online stores are easier and cheaper to start, however, they might not be suitable for every business.
Write Down your Ideas
The hardest thing to do is to start. More often than not we tend to have so many ideas and thoughts running through our mind making it so easy to get lost in the process. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to have a notebook and write down your ideas, plans, goals and objectives. This helps to give you perspective. Also, with having your ideas written down, it is easier to show it to someone else, a friend, parent or mentor to have them give you their honest feedback.
Having an outside perspective helps to lessen the fear of starting on a new venture or a new project.
Envision everything and write or draw it down. This includes name, logo, products, packaging, etc. this is especially useful if you want to get into design; graphic design, jewelry design or fashion and design, illustration or even coding. This will allow you to make and correct mistakes without having to cost you too much in terms of resources.
Build a Business on a Versatile Product or Service
Markets can be very tricky sometimes because they tend to change with changing times. Therefore, do not get into the business of providing a product or service hoping that the market will see it in the same way as you do. While it is advisable to get into a niche and have a target market, you also need to be sure that your niche indeed has potential willing buyers.
The best approach is to come up with a business idea (small business ideas for 17 years-old) that encompasses essential products or services, that is, they can attract a large number of diverse clients. This helps you to have a wider reach of clients beyond your area of operation. The ability of a business to penetrate markets is a key factor in determining the success of the business.
Bring the Right People on Board
It is often said that the greatest resource a startup business can have is its team members. Therefore, it is no brainer that who you have on your team can help make or break your business. Do you share the same values? Are they passionate about the business? What are they bringing to the table, this can be in terms of resources, skills or experience?
With the right people on board, it will be much easier to start up your business; which is why you must have a mentor who has enough experience in the business to guide you through.
Manage your Finances
This includes startup costs, operational costs and profits. Mismanagement of finances can easily lead to the downfall of your business therefore you need to pay extra caution about balancing the books.
At 17 years old, one is still considered to be a minor; this then limits you in certain aspects such as opening a business account, borrowing a loan from the bank for your startup or having a credit card. You therefore need to think of alternative ways of handling and saving your money.
To raise money for your startup you could consider;
- Starting a crowdfunding campaign
- Applying for grants, trusts or enterprise funds
- Borrowing a loan from family members
- Get into a partnership with an adult who can set up a bank account for the business.
- Or lastly, you can decide to work to raise money for your startup
Luckily these days with the rise of eCommerce, it is very easy to start a business at 17 years old on a shoestring budget. Therefore, if your business can be set up online, you can avoid incurring the extra costs of setting up a shop at a physical location.
Maintain a Proper Work-Life Balance
The only way to achieve a proper balance is by scheduling your time properly, failure to do so can lead to stress, strained or broken relationships. At 17 years old, you probably still have school, you have duties at home and still need time to hang out with friends (teenage hangout business ideas).
Therefore, take the time to plan out each day of the week. You should start by prioritizing the most important tasks in their order of urgency. The less urgent and easy tasks can always be delegated hence why you should have a team that works seamlessly with you.
Marketing your Business
Getting your first clients is probably going to be the hardest part of your startup business hence why marketing is an important aspect. People can’t know about your business if you do not make the effort to raise awareness around it.
Possible venues to market your business include; networking, handing out brochures and business cards or placing ads in newspapers and magazines.
Another effective way of marketing your services is by asking for referrals from your clients, friends and family. Word-of-mouth advertising has been around for a long time and it has been proven to be effective since people are more likely to take recommendations coming from someone they know and trust.
Also, do not forget social media marketing. The online platform has become a very powerful asset to businesses. People spend a lot of time on their laptops and phones. Therefore, if you have a strategic social media marketing plan in place then you are likely to achieve more success.
Once you figure out the basics, the rest of the work will be an easy undertaking. To realize success, you need to ensure that you consistently work on your business. Put in the extra effort if need be and be patient. Success does not happen overnight; it is a gradual but fulfilling process.