Attention kids (and teens)! Do you have an amazing small business idea? Maybe it’s time to think about starting a home-based business. Contrary to what some people may tell you, anyone can be a young businessman or businesswoman. However, running your own business is a challenge at any age, and not everyone enjoys it. Owning a business is a lifestyle choice, and if you decide to do it, you need to be prepared for everything. If you’re determined and willing to work, you can do it! Grab a parent and keep reading to learn NerdWallet’s top four tips to help make your business a success.
1. Create a business plan
A great idea is only the beginning. To make money, you’ll need a solid business plan. For example, if you’re starting a knitting business, you have to write out a plan describing how you plan to sell your scarves and hats. You need a plan for finding new customers. You should also know what other knitting businesses are doing so you can make sure your business is the best. And, finally, you should know how you’re going to pay for all the yarn you need to make those hats and scarves in the first place, without losing money. There’s a lot to think about, so take your time and ask everyone you know for advice. When you’re ready to write your business plan, visit the Small Business Administration’s business plan website for more information.
2. Love what you do
The most successful business people really, really love their businesses. And it’s a good thing too, because businesses are a lot of work. Owning your own business is much harder than working for someone else. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but it does mean that you should do it for the right reasons. Think about why you want to start a business before you jump in and make the commitment. If you just want to make money, maybe you should just get a job or open a short-term business like a roadside stand. However, if you have an awesome idea to share with the world and are willing to work hard every day, you’ve got the right mindset for an entrepreneur.
3. Be prepared for big changes
When you’re paddling a canoe down a river, you never know when you’ll encounter fast rapids, slow eddies, rocks or even waterfalls! When you’re running a business, you’ll probably encounter obstacles like new fads, a changing economy, supply problems, and who knows what else. Your business is like a canoe, and the business world is like a river. It’s up to you to figure out how to paddle forward and keep your business afloat. You may make some mistakes, and that’s okay. It’s important to keep going and think of ways to do better next time.
4. Keep learning
Besides marketing and strategizing, the best way to build your business is to keep learning everything you possibly can about running a business. You may have grown-up friends who run a local company, or you might be able to learn about businesses through your school or church. You can also learn a lot by doing research with a parent’s guidance. Here are three of our favorite youth-friendly business resources:
As the name suggests, Biz Kid$ is an awesome TV show about money and entrepreneurship, just for kids. Through a fun mix of comedy sketches, animation and stories that just might remind you of Star Wars or The Wizard of Oz, Biz Kid$ has a lot to teach you about money management and smart business decisions. Visit their website to see how you can watch episodes on TV, or just browse their blog and free video collection.
Young Americans Bank
Young Americans Bank in Denver, Colorado, is a real bank just for kids and teens. In addition to basic bank products like checking and savings accounts, this super-cool kids’ bank also offers business classes and workshops. Even if you don’t live in Denver, you can still purchase their Owning a Business Tool Kit. This eight-part, kid-friendly manual will help you write a business plan, and operate and promote your business. You can also read the Young Americans blog for free money advice from the experts.
If you’re a kid and an entrepreneur, you’re a Kidpreneur! The Kidpreneurs book will take you beyond basic strategies for making money and also teach you about networking, making your business earth-friendly, donating to charity, thinking about your future and more. Even if you don’t buy the book, you should definitely check out the Kidpreneurs blog for business tips and interviews with successful kid business owners. In a few years, the Kidpreneurs team might even want to interview you!
On behalf of business nerds everywhere, NerdWallet wishes you good luck. Being a business owner is a challenge, but it’s also very exciting. Remember: work hard, keep learning, be prepared, and love what you do.