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By Akash Mehta
January 11th 2008 Reader Rating: 7.6
Online start-up businesses run by young adults are an increasingly common phenomenon. A commonly overlooked demographic, however, are the real youth -- those under 18 years of age. With online businesspeople facing very low barriers to market entry, many tech-savvy kids are getting in on the act and taking advantage of the opportunities that abound. While these entrepreneurs are more the exception than the rule, some of their successes are highly notable -myyearbook.com was initially founded by two high-school students, yet at one stage was the third-most popular social networking site in the United States, behind MySpace and Facebook. Of course, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was still in college when he established one of the most popular social networking sites in the world. Sadly, these successes aren't as common as they could be. While the world has countless enthusiastic young people with ideas and technical skills, there are many challenges facing these youthful entrepreneurs. These range from the natural -- Venture Capitalists (VC) disputing their expertise, for example -- to artificial (such as the age restrictions placed on credit card services that might otherwise be used to pay for start-up resources). Here are some tips for the technically-minded young entrepreneur -- both the aspirant service provider and the ambitious salesman -- to help them overcome these challenges and succeed in their ventures.
clients contacting you at any hour of the day. work. With customers to deal with. 2. but running a profitable business is a different thing altogether. consider whether or not you really want to be in business. and everything in between. Running a business isn't for everyone -. Think about where you want to go in life. and at some point. and you really want to go into business with it.Google. where you can also network and create opportunities for your business. if you have an idea. . consider attending user groups. Before you begin anything. is managed by three people: two technically minded founders. Often co-curricular and non-school (where applicable) involvements are the first to go. Running a business isn't easy.you may be technically minded. Still. For example. Running a business is more often than not a full time job. Look at the market leaders -. You just might it make it big! Another important issue you will have to deal with is time. something's got to give.1. or you could go into business. you could be part of a sporting team. don't give up now. you could soon find yourself trying to get through 30 hours of work every day. but you probably can't do both. to maintain your social involvement. products to maintain and possibly even staff to manage. Be ready to handle the challenges of a business. for example. Plan your idea on paper and be ready to explain it to others. plus an experienced professional in the business-oriented role of CEO. operating a business is very intensive. and make your decisions accordingly. or a lack thereof! With school.
or even a bus stop. your explanations can end up being inconsistent. you shouldn't have any problems. sounding unconfident. You can't let everyone know about your new product or service but the more people who do know.I call it Pen and Paper. and gives you more time to think it out while you write. the more opportunities you're likely to get. with this plan in hand. Without a plan. Get the word out -.you might just chance on a recommendation to a potential client! Work out your business model and the most useful. opportunities can come up at the most unexpected times. Be ready to explain your business to anyone at any time. a conference. You may run into a potential client at a party. Let me take this opportunity to recommend my ingenious patent-pending project management system -. concise description you can come up with for your goods or services. . Working out a plan with pen and paper is often far more effective than typing it up.When you're running a small business. and achieving little or no effect. and therefore the better your chances of making it through your first few months in business.
could you set something up in your parents' garage? For some. do you (or more likely. 3. I've been handing out cards since I was 13. however. they give you something on which to scribble the contact details of potential clients. imposing on friends and family to help get things moving can be awkward. With a bit of thinking. if you're building a web application for the financial services industry. a business card demonstrates that you're serious about what you do. some people simply won't take you seriously. . but learning to take advantage of the available resources is going to give you a huge advantage as a young entrepreneur.Get business cards printed and carry them around. For example. Make good use of all the resources available to you. young entrepreneurs don't have a lot of capital. Lack of access to capital can often become a challenge for young entrepreneurs -. 4. briefly explain your business using the plan you prepared earlier and give them a card. but there are still many resources available to you. Build your product to be as complete as possible before seeking financial assistance. your parents) know any accountants of economists? If you need to quickly undertake a photo shoot for an advertising campaign that a friend has offered to help out with.basic business development resources such as ad campaigns can become a problem if you don't have a budget. If you bump into anyone who might be in the market for your goods or services. When you meet in person. Often. let them know what you do. and they're very effective client-winners. At the very least. many of these problems can be alleviated by taking advantage of the resources at hand.
You pick up the phone. call Uncle Rob and ask if he can lend you the cash. Develop your product as much as you can before seeking financial support. When dealing with clients. The more you can demonstrate your idea. He politely declines.especially venture capitalists -. the more convincing you'll be. and suddenly you realise that the Flash charting library you've been using in your application actually costs $1200 for commercial use. and deserve an appropriate amount of your attention. selling your product to potential financial backers is even more important. you might consider restricting your customer base to offshore clients (although for USbased entrepreneurs this isn't always an option). Getting them to take you seriously is the tricky part. Maintain a professional communication channel. potential financial backers -. Building on the advice that we discussed in point 2 above. Just as you will eventually sell your product to potential customers. and this makes explaining and clarifying those ideas a priority. you may find yourself working with mature professionals who are high up in their respective corporate hierarchies.So. you have ideas with a lot of potential. Preparing stunning introductions and speeches always helps for the . Run your life in your local neighbourhood. you're developing your whiz-bang product. and you'll be treated like one. age won't matter unless you make it matter. live locally.are very important to the success of your business. A series of calls to your other relatives end in a similar fashion. put together a demonstration video. but until you're older and feel confident to deal with clients in person or over the phone. 5. Assume the role of a mature industry professional. As an entrepreneur. if possible. If at all possible. but work globally. When you go professional.
Often a dedicated calendar and marker pen are sufficient. especially if you plan to contact clients using the same instant messaging profile you use to contact friends -. this is easier said than done. you have a chance to gather your thoughts. Importantly. pending tasks. keep communication to email -definitely don't offer instant messaging as a method of communication. Instant messaging should be avoided at all costs. when you want your . you often have to tread carefully and make sure you don't lose anyone from your limited customer base. then make sure you achieve these goals within the time frame you have given yourself. and maintain a close eye on your daily operations. Monitor progress and keep track of tasks. Work out when you expect to start generating revenues. but develop a system that works for you and allows you to keep track of deadlines. With email.times when you have to work locally. The last thing clients want is for you to miss a deadline because you were out on a date or partying with friends. 6. and to work out how to respond to clients. of course. and goals. Make sure you keep an eye on the big picture. When you're working globally. As a young entrepreneur.but keep track of your progress in your life as an entrepreneur. keep a standard speech in mind and make sure you can deliver it confidently as needed.this creates all sorts of opportunities for revealing your lack of experience. Of course. and give each a definite deadline. establish many goals. With email. you can take the time to prepare a professional response that conveys your intended image. Keep a reasonable separation between your professional and social lives -.the so-called work/life balance -. and requires a lot of selfdiscipline.
when you do. extend your skill set. when you aim to secure your first customer. Be prepared to fail.most start-ups just don't take off. you gain a new raft of experiences. and make sure you enjoy what you're doing. this eventuality shouldn't be confused with "failure. the question is: did you have fun? It may be the case that your product doesn't take off. and ready to deal with new challenges. Let's be honest -. Entrepreneurialism requires .products and services to be ready. consider putting in a few extra hours here and there. In any case. dust yourself off and keep on going! You haven't failed. and the kid next door might not mind helping you out here and there in return for a bit of pocket money (although again. always keep an eye on the big picture. Perhaps it even made you rich and famous and put you on the cover of TIME magazine at 16! But at the end of the day. Have fun! You might have built a fantastic product and sold it to half of your target market. However." Every time you start a business. look back on what you've learned and consider what you plan to do next time. 7. In the event that your business doesn't make it big. and you end up pulling out of it. you've progressed. If you see progress in general sliding. Chances are that you intend to start another business in your lifetime. or the world simply isn't ready for your product or service. you'll be one business the wiser. and so on. There's always another opportunity. or (if possible) hiring some help -. 8. this might be a bit too close to home). and learn valuable lessons for your future enterprising.reliable offshore freelancers are plentiful. you can't find any suitable buyers.
a lot of enthusiasm -.you can face some serious challenges if you don't take pleasure in your daily business activities .
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