By Jack Dawson
Young entrepreneurs have started some of the world’s most profitable and famous businesses. For example, Bill Gates started Microsoft while in college, as did Larry Page and Sergey Brin who started Google. Discipline, focus, passion, and commitment are what made their companies stand out.
You can also be another success story. The following tips will help you become successful as a young entrepreneur:
Perseverance is one of the main ingredients of entrepreneurial success. The truth is, it does not come easy. However, it is manageable. As a young entrepreneur, you have to push against relentless currents. You must deflect the advice of friends, colleagues or family members that think you should quit. Success in this highly competitive world demands that you become fearless and never give up. Perseverance means that you refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. This is what the most successful companies do.
One perfect example of a company that knows a thing or two about perseverance is AOL. When this company started more than 30 years ago, a paltry 3% of folks were online. When AOL went public after more than 10 years of being in business, in 1992, it had less than 200,000 customers. This was pretty disappointing and frustrating. Nevertheless, AOL kept at it – the company could not afford to give up. Over time, the internet world finally exploded. Consequently, AOL became the world’s leading internet company with over 25 million customers. In addition to this, this company was the most valuable across the world. What a turnaround! So what was the secret? Perseverance was!
Remain Focused No Matter What
One main challenge most entrepreneurs face today is lack of focus. While this is true for some young capitalists, others have it, but they focus on so many things at the same time. As a budding entrepreneur, always strive to focus on a few things.
When starting out, it is common to hedge yourself – you want more products in order to increase your chances of finding the best. There is also the tendency of wanting more features in order to find the killer feature. Young entrepreneurs tend to look for more price points so that there is a higher likelihood of engaging all customers.
When you do all these, that is, divide your focus across many things, you divide the potential of your success. Instead, you should endure the process of whittling down all your ideas into their primary elements. Success demands that you fully focus on the countable things your customers need.
Always remember that an incredible Minimum Viable Product (MVP) favors top customer needs.
Instead Of Funding, First Seek Traction
A common young entrepreneurial mistake is seeking funding and getting people to rally behind an idea. This should not be the case. The first thing you need to do as a young entrepreneur is gain as much traction as you possibly can. After you have early traction, then you can step out and look for investors with more leverage.
Keep In Mind, You Run a Startup
The fact that you have just secured some huge funding does not give you the right to change and act like a rock star. Securing a luxurious office, fast car or affluent home are all a waste of money. Remember you are not Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, or Bill Gates, who run large and successful companies – you are not there yet! Live within your means.
Be extremely careful about how you manage your cash flow. Ensure you keep track of all your expenditures. This is not being cheap – it is being wise. The last thing you want is to burn through all the cash too early.
Always Value Culture – Your Company’s Culture
Losing the culture of your company is the last thing you want. Company culture is extremely important. Culture tells your company’s story. If you don’t tell the story, then the story always tells itself. Regardless of the size of your company, you should value both the people and culture.
Troy Carter, the CEO and Founder of Atom Factory, knows this better. According to this young entrepreneur, one of the greatest regrets he harbors, after selling his previous company 11 years ago, is losing the culture of this company. Initially, his company had only seven employees. After going public, the number increased to 650 employees. With the changes, his company lost its culture within days – boom, just like that!
Build Your Idea around Real Needs
The truth is that entrepreneurs are always coming with brilliant ideas. Therefore, how does a young entrepreneur determine which ideas are best? How do you know that your idea is worth acting upon? Always know that remarkable ideas revolve around real needs.
As you start up, be a huge advocate of validating your hypothesis, rapid prototyping and a human-centered design. Besides testing your assumptions, you should only act upon ideas if you have a burning desire and passion to fully dedicate yourself to them.
To be successful as an entrepreneur, you must have a preposterous gusto for a validated idea and unfair advantage (industry partnerships, expansive network, and deep expertise).
Incredible ideas aren’t enough. You have to execute them. For you to be successful at it, you must have unrelenting perseverance and hustle.
Find a mentor
Whether it is a business leader, weathered vet or local entrepreneur, having a mentor is rewarding. A great place to start your search for a great mentor is on LinkedIn. Mentors boast of vast experience, extensive networks, immense knowledge, and business acumen. A mentor can connect you with the right individuals to make your business a success story.
Do not be afraid to email or cold call industry gurus. Surprisingly, as a way of giving back, most industry leaders are always willing and looking forward to help younger entrepreneurs. So pick that phone or computer and contact someone now!
Do you love music? If so, are you familiar with Kenny Rogers’s classic song “The Gambler?” If you are a young entrepreneur, this song should be your all time favorite hit. If you are not familiar with it, then you need to listen to it. “The Gambler” provides the best advice when it comes to business. Just like a wise gambler, you always have to know when to make what move. This way, your business will not only be successful, it will also maintain that status for years.
Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms. Follow him at @.