When it comes to business, the earlier you start, the better. When you’re a young entrepreneur, you will have more years at your disposal discovering the next big thing in tech or perfecting the “best burger” in town. By the time that you hit your 30s, decide to settle down and have a family, more or less, you already took off in terms of career and financial situation. But, of course, it’s not easy to go this path when you’re shaking in insecurity and inexperience. In fact, a lot of young entrepreneurs must break long-held beliefs, often idealistic, so they will see the realities of business. Here are some of the changes in perspective you need to embrace:
From “what’s popular” to “what’s needed”
A lot of people who start off young in the business tend to be fixated with the brilliant idea they think would go trendy. The enthusiasm is good, but do note that you can be enthusiastically wrong about your idea. You see, in business, what you think would go popular trumps what your customers think are necessary. You could be putting up an aesthetic, super photogenic vegan restaurant in your town and still go unnoticed if the people nearby your business are hardcore burger lovers.
It’s important to be sensitive to the pulse of the market, striving to discern what they want and need. Conduct market research before you push through with a business idea. If you’re thinking about putting up fast food franchises, you should be able to ask your franchisor for case studies they did in your locale. From there, you can validate your assumptions to the real market demand.
From “follow your passion” to “pursue what you do best”
Time and time again, you hear someone on TV or over at the lunch table saying “follow your passion.” Young entrepreneurs find this appealing. Perhaps you even hanged a calligraphy art piece of this in your home office.
The simple truth is, following your passion is bad advice. For one, it makes the mistake just mentioned above: dismissing the market’s need. More importantly, your passions change from time to time. You could be passionate about baking now, lose affections for it the next year, and go on a travelling spree instead. What this implies is that if you follow your passion, you’re following a constantly-changing idea. Which isn’t exactly the best strategy for laying down a lasting, sustainable business.
What do you do instead? Pursue what you do best. When you gain mastery over something, it’s hard to shake it off your system. In fact, even when it gets hard, you’ll do it all the same, because you know that you’re good at it. That awareness that you’re competent is crucial in starting the business young. It’s key to making people around you take you seriously.
From “I have no experience” to “I have a lot to learn”
Even though there are many young entrepreneurs who feel that they are indeed competent, there’s still a sense of insecurity over not having that enough experience. The reality, however, is that everybody else starts with no experience, even entrepreneurs who are starting in their 40s or 50s, even those who have been at the support side of their family businesses. This is something you shouldn’t be ashamed about. In fact, think of your blank slate as an advantage. You have the opportunity to soak a lot of learnings and best practices in the field. Work with a mentor you can trust. Find them in networking events or in business communities in your locale.
As you take the risk of becoming a young entrepreneur, train your mind with these new mindsets. And from here, drive your business to growth and success.