Starting a new business is always a bit risky, and it often feels like sailing into uncharted waters, hoping there isn’t a storm brewing ahead or a waterfall down the way, but also hoping that if there is, you’ll be able to somehow navigate through it.
There definitely isn’t one “right way” to “do entrepreneurship,” but there are a few pillars of successful entrepreneurship that we can take a lesson from to ease our journey. While the specifics of each pillar will be different for every different business, the overall concepts, such as persevering through challenges, taking calculated risks, and listening to customer feedback to improve your product remain true for every entrepreneur.
At Beta Bowl, we offer programs that further inspire teen entrepreneurs, helping them build the business of their dreams.
5 Things Entrepreneurs Do for Success
Heeding the below list can help ensure your entrepreneurial journey is as smooth of sailing as possible…or at least can increase your odds of achieving lasting success down the line.
Do Learn from Your Own Mistakes
Given that entrepreneurship can feel like uncharted waters and doesn’t come with an instruction manual, it’s inevitable that all entrepreneurs will make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes those mistakes will be costly, and sometimes they’ll be a blip on the radar for anyone but us, but either way, harping on the mistake isn’t the answer.
The best thing we can do is learn from those mistakes and find ways to avoid or mitigate them in the future. In some cases, mistakes can uncover underlying issues or new opportunities we had never seen or considered, but the job of an entrepreneur is to turn mistakes, challenges, and failures into positive outcomes or market opportunities.
Do Be Confident and Take Risks
If you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, you absolutely have to have confidence in yourself and your own decisions and prepare to take some calculated risks. Nothing new was ever created without a bit of risk-taking…in fact, without taking any risks, there would be no innovation whatsoever, as people would be too risk-averse to divert from the status quo.
The key to taking risks that pay off is to take calculated risks by considering the pros, cons, and various potential outcomes. Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons and determined if there’s enough potential upside or a high enough likelihood of success, you can then move forward with the risks that are worth taking. For those that don’t pan out as you’d like, at least you will have learned from them and will have a plan to improve or take a better path in the future.
Related: Smart Ways to Help Your Teen Choose a Career
Do Network and Meet New People
If you’ve ever heard the saying “your network is your net worth,” it’s not completely wrong, especially when it comes to business. As much as technology plays a part, people are the real engines behind businesses, and there is immense value in connecting with the right people. As an entrepreneur and business owner, you should make an effort to connect with your customers, potential investors, marketers, and even other business owners in your space.
You don’t have to be best friends with your competitor, but connecting with the players in your field will only be to your benefit. You just may find a complementary company with great synergy potential, or a business owner or investor in a completely different niche who would be interested in introducing your business to a brand-new market. You’ll never know the positive potential that could come from these connections if you don’t make the effort to meet them in the first place and cultivate those business relationships.
At Beta Bowl, we offer 1 on 1 session with successful business owners who are willing to share their secrets and advice with teen entrepreneurs.
Do Ask Questions
If you’re aspiring to be a successful entrepreneur, you’re likely creating a product, service, or solution for other people, so you want to make sure it does the job well for the intended audience. Unfortunately, as a creator and entrepreneur, we can never be completely unbiased about our products, and we also can’t put ourselves in the shoes of our target market.
It’s necessary to ask questions of your customers to find out exactly how they feel about our product, anyways it could be changed or improved, and any issues they’ve experienced that we could address. If you’re too afraid to ask the hard questions, you’ll never allow your business to achieve its full potential, and you’ll never know why some customers choose a different solution or go with a competitor.
Do Listen to Feedback
Along the lines of asking the hard questions of customers, it’s even more important to listen to those answers and consider the feedback you receive. Most times, constructive feedback is going to feel a bit burdensome.
Feedback means there is something that could be changed or improved, and making changes or improvements requires more work and effort on the part of the entrepreneur or your team. Is that frustrating? Yes, it can be. Is it worth considering and possibly addressing? Yes, 100%.
By listening to customer feedback and implementing their suggestions in the next iteration of our product or service, we have an opportunity to better serve the market and offer a solution that will be even more helpful to customers.
Companies that are nimble, iterative, and receptive to customer feedback are the ones that tend to get ahead, and customers like to feel heard and understood. Those who ignore customer feedback may get trampled by more nimble competitors who do prioritize customer feedback.
Do Believe In Yourself and Your Ideas
Since entrepreneurship isn’t the most common or conventional path, it requires the confidence of a person who believes in their own abilities and ideas. A successful entrepreneur doesn’t have time to second-guess their path or every decision they make.
Related: Most Important Life Skills for Teens
Instead, they need to have faith in their ideas and be confident knowing that they will put in the time, effort, research, and perseverance required to turn their idea into a successful business, even when it feels challenging or uncertain. If you don’t believe in yourself and your idea first, it will be a lot harder to sell to other people and convince them to believe in your business.
4 Things that Successful Entrepreneurs Do Not Do in Business
The thing that sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the business world is that they do not engage in detrimental behaviors.
Don’t Care What Other People Think
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, and some people will never understand or support any deviation from the standard corporate 9-to-5 lifestyle. That’s okay, since those people may not be your customers, and they surely won’t be your investors or competitors. Though it can be difficult, it’s important to approach your business with blinders on and to stay in your lane.
While of course you should keep a pulse on the market and remain abreast of relevant industry news, you can’t allow yourself to be distracted by naysayers and those who don’t see the bigger picture vision for your business. Those people are simply noise, and you can’t allow their opinions about your path to dictate your decisions or success.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
Complacency is a little-known danger that can cripple people on any path, but it’s important to operate with your eyes wide open as an entrepreneur. You may struggle at first and then finally find your groove and feel like things are great…
That’s great, but you should never let this success turn into complacency. Entrepreneurs who get too comfortable may fail to realize the new products or services their competitors are about to release. They may stop iterating or stop innovating and assume they can rely on their one golden goose.
However, this is truly the opposite of entrepreneurship. Any truly entrepreneurial person will have a strong desire to continue to explore new ideas and create new products and solutions or even think up their next big business.
Beware of getting too comfortable, and realize that many products and services had their heyday before the newer or better successor came out. You don’t need to be paranoid all the time, but it’s best to constantly think of new opportunities, supplemental products or services, and improvements to your current offering, as well as new marketing channels.
Don’t Let Failures Stop You
If you’re going to pursue this whole “entrepreneurship” thing, you cannot be afraid of or derailed by failure. Consider the fact that nine out of ten businesses fail in the first five years, and some of the most successful entrepreneurs out there had multiple failed businesses before striking gold with their winning idea.
Twitter came out of the failed Odeo podcasting app. Instacart came after a lengthy 20+ failed businesses from its founder. GoPro was the garage project of its founder, who sat for two years feeling like a failure trying to make a product and ended up taping a camera to his head when he went surfing.
If any of these entrepreneurs let their failures or struggles define or stop them, they would never be where they are today, and some of the biggest businesses out there wouldn’t even exist. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs need to get comfortable with the idea that they may encounter failures and setbacks, but they simply need to build a bridge and get over it with an innovative solution or new idea.
Don’t Be Impatient
As hard as it is to wait it out, an aspiring entrepreneur can’t be impatient or give up too soon on their idea. Most of the overnight successes we see out there were truly years of time and thousands of hours of effort in the making.
Few rewarding successes in life come without a significant investment of time and effort, and entrepreneurial success is no exception. That said, it’s important to constantly work to move your business forward, so sitting around and waiting for success or expecting customers to come to find you is not the answer.
Related: How to Become CEO of a Company
Some of the best ways to make a change are to go out there in person and do it yourself, even if that means going door to door. Paul Graham of Y Combinator famously told founders to do things that don’t scale, and some of the billion-dollar startups you see today were built off of neighborhood door-knocking, individual emails sent to potential buyers, and excel spreadsheets of target customer addresses and phone numbers.
What are the 7 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs?
Some people are naturally drawn to entrepreneurship, and others steer clear of it. What are the personality characteristics that make some individuals keener on being their own boss? And how can you tell if your teen has these qualities?
- A Passion for What they Do
- A Certain Amount of Business Savvy
- A Knack for Planning Ahead
- Good With Money
- Persistent and Undeterred
- Confidence and Ability to Overcome Fear
Entrepreneurs are Passionate
Nobody likes a stick in the mud, and in business, you have to have a certain amount of magnetic charisma in order to sway investors, business partners, key talent, and customers to rally around a great idea.
This doesn’t mean that your teen entrepreneur needs to have their business idea figured out. But they do need to demonstrate a certain amount of passion when they go after an idea or work on a project. This personality trait will be a good indicator of a successful entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs Have a Head for Business
The details can be learned in any business program, but what an individual will do with that knowledge is determined by something deeper. Good business sense and logical decision-making skills should be innate to their personality.
Entrepreneurs Like to Plan
A big part of business success is business planning. This means that entrepreneurs spend a significant amount of time planning before making decisions or taking action. Since most of this planning happens behind the scenes, it is not always obvious. If your student is the type to fly by the seat of their pants, entrepreneurship may not be a good fit.
Entrepreneurs are Good with Money
Side-by-side with planning is financial management. These are the two biggest reasons why new businesses fail. So, logically, an entrepreneur who is good at making financial decisions and managing budgets will see success.
Entrepreneurs Have Resilient Persistence
Failure is a common outcome in entrepreneurship. It takes a certain amount of resilience to keep trying in the face of abject failure. That doesn’t mean that your student doesn’t feel the pain of failure; it just means that they don’t give up when they face it.
Entrepreneurs are Self-Confident
With all of that talk about failure, it is easy to give in to self-doubt. However, successful entrepreneurs are self-confident. They believe in themselves as much as they believe in their ideas. These individuals accept constructive feedback and use it to innovate better ideas.
What Every Entrepreneur Should Know
While you can inventory every personality trait of successful entrepreneurs and check off to-do items in education and experience, there is one fundamental question that entrepreneurs must answer before taking the plunge into their first business endeavor.
The question is, “why do I want this?”
People go into business for themselves for many different reasons. Some of them want to change the world, and others have been lucky enough to have a good idea and simply fall into entrepreneurship.
Anyone pursuing entrepreneurship as a career should be able to answer the why behind their drive. As long as you are not running away from bad bosses or bad jobs and you are exploring this option with a purpose, you are probably going in the right direction.
Entrepreneurship is not an easy path, and it’s not for the faint of heart or those lacking patience. However, entrepreneurship is one of the most educational, formative, and rewarding experiences a person can have.
If you follow the above guidelines and persevere through your entrepreneurial journey, you’re much more likely to be among those who see the fruits of their labor and take their ideas all the way from inception to success. If you’re an adolescent or teen interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, the earlier you start, the better, and you don’t need to pursue it entirely alone.
Programs like Beta Bowl give teens the entrepreneurial skillset, resources, and business acumen to take an idea from inception to viable business, and they’re given lifetime access to a business-building toolkit they can use time and again for many new ideas and years to come. Enrollment is open now.
Once you’ve amassed an entrepreneurial skillset, attaining success is simply a matter of timing, effort, and innovation, and with enough drive, you have a great chance of getting there.