Building a business from the ground up is no easy task. As an entrepreneur, you have multiple hats to wear in addition to being the ideas guy (or gal). You need to know how to think critically, lead others and use funds responsibly in order to succeed. It doesn’t hurt to know how to work a room or be resourceful, either. This is especially true if you’re a millennial entrepreneur.
Millennials get a bad rap for being too idealistic or not having enough discipline to work hard. On the contrary, there are many people in this age group who have figured out how to be successful on their own; so why don’t you join them?
Here are the dos and don’ts you need to be aware of when starting up as a millennial entrepreneur.
A few easy wins for millennials to focus on
While you can’t exactly build a business overnight, you don’t have to overcomplicate the process, either. There are some aspects of starting up a business that can create easy wins when you follow them correctly. Check out three of them below.
DO: Create an in-depth budget
You can’t accomplish much unless you have a little bit of money to get you started. However, you have to think about more than just how many loans you plan to take out and the number of investors who are interested in you.
You must plan what to do with every single penny in your budget. This includes everything from renting a workspace to purchasing materials to marketing costs and any necessary hiring or outsourcing costs you foresee.
Set aside some emergency funds, too. You can’t predict how many rounds of resource and development (R&D) it will take to get your product just right, or how much a web developer will charge. There are ways to cut costs when necessary, but the last thing you want is to end up without enough money to cover the essentials.
DO: Test your product
Your product won’t come out perfectly the first time. This is where that research and development comes into play. It’s going to take multiple iterations to get the outcome you’ve imagined—and sometimes, an even better one.
Testing is crucial for any startup. Don’t skip it, and don’t think one or two tests are all that you need, either.
DO: Set yourself apart
Chances are, someone else has already come up with an idea similar to yours, or no one realizes there’s a need in the market yet. Your job is to come up with a product or service to fill that need.
Think about it: We didn’t know we needed a ride-sharing service better than taxis and local transportation until we had Uber and Lyft at our disposal. We never thought of answering calls from our watches until someone made that possible. We always wished we could have groceries shipped right to our door, and now we can.
Your target market is either unaware that they need what you can offer, or they assume the thing they’ve always been using is the only option available. When you show them otherwise, be bold about it. The more you stand out among the competition, the better.
Common pitfalls millennial entrepreneurs must watch out for
Some goals are easier to accomplish than you might think, while others will take much longer to achieve. There are certain things to watch out for while creating your business model, including:
DON’T: Forget to do your research
The importance of research goes beyond product development. Conduct in-depth market analysis to understand who it is you’re selling to. This also helps you identify a primary and secondary market.
Nailing your target market means conducting a good amount of research. This means knowing their age, gender, level of income, spending habits and even religious beliefs or political views. A lot the times, the people you go in thinking are going to love your product or service aren’t actually the ones who end up buying it right away.
DON’T: Underestimate the competition
Another part of research is the competitive analysis. You are not ready to launch your product or service if you don’t have this step completed. You must be aware of what other players in the market are doing.
Has someone tried to make a similar product and failed? Is there a main contender in your market who has already reached most consumers?
These are just a few questions you need to answer. Without this step, you may put in months of hard work only to realize someone else was already a few steps ahead of you.
DON’T: Rush the process
The good thing about competition is that it motivates you. You want to either enter a market first, or at least get there before the market becomes too saturated. You can’t rush the process in order to get there, though.
Rushing the process can cause you to look over important details, ignore red flags and forget important steps in starting a business. If anything, rushing puts you on a fast-track to failure, rather than success.
Take your time. Success won’t come right away, but when you’re patient, it will be more fulfilling than you can imagine.
Create your own successful startup story
Ready to see how far your business can go? Great! Then it’s time to get started (or keep plugging away). Keep in mind all of the points mentioned above in order to have the most successful startup story you can possibly create.
Celebrate your small wins as you walk the path toward your startup’s launch, and don’t take small setbacks as defeat. Before you know it, your business will be up and running!