Entrepreneurship is becoming a much more popular and accepted career choice, with more and more people in the UK choosing to become entrepreneurs each year. Many young people like the idea of working for themselves as they can choose their working hours, don’t have a boss to answer to, and can express their individualism and creativity through entrepreneurship. But that is not to say that being an entrepreneur does not come with unique challenges.
Are you a young entrepreneur looking to carve their path in the world of business in the UK? This article provides a definitive guide for young entrepreneurs to give you the know-how to start and develop a successful business.
How soon is too soon? How much experience do young entrepreneurs need?
There is no real age that is ‘too young’ to become an entrepreneur. Some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs did not even wait to go to university before starting their own businesses. Some were even running side businesses while they were still in high school.
The truth is that even children can understand entrepreneurial concepts and may want to experiment with them.
That being said, it is important that you do not rush into opening up a business if you are not ready. Whether you have gained knowledge from a university degree, a diploma, or online courses, you should be extremely confident with entrepreneurial concepts before starting up a business.
If you want to gain some workplace experience first, that would also be a good idea. Working in almost any environment will give you a good idea of how certain company structures work.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions to entrepreneurs that you look up to, as their advice could be exceptionally valuable!
Honing your entrepreneurial skills
Being an entrepreneur can be exceptionally challenging at times. There are a number of personal traits that make some people better inclined to be entrepreneurs than others. This is not to say that if you don’t already have these traits, you cannot learn them.
Some entrepreneurial traits that are helpful in the business landscape include:
- Creativity – Having the ability to come up with creative solutions to problems and create inventive products is very valuable. You can hone your creative skills by partaking in creative activities that aim at igniting your creativity.
- Flexibility – In the world of business, problems seem to pop up out of nowhere. If you can adapt to them without much tension, then all the better for you.
- Organisation – If you are someone who is very unorganised, now may be the time to get your ducks in a row as running a business requires immense amounts of organisation.
- Interpersonal skills – As an entrepreneur, you will be dealing with suppliers, employees, partners, and more. It would be very advantageous for you to enjoy and be good at working with people.
Realise that having practical skills, such as arithmetic, hands-on skills, cleaning skills, website building and more will also be very helpful in your quest for entrepreneurship. While you should never take on too much as an entrepreneur, it is is also important that you have some basic skills under your belt so that you don’t have to outsource everything.
Coming up with great business ideas
You don’t want to start up a business that is destined to fail. Explore a variety of business ideas before deciding on which one to actually pursue.
Look around you for inspiration. Which industries are booming? Which industries are slowly dying out? What do people need right now?
While your business idea need not be 100% unique, it is important that it has some original features that will set it apart from your competition.
Use brainstorming techniques to come up with ideas, and you may find that your ideas are sparked when talking to other people.
Know who your target market is
Who are the people who you wish to sell to? Knowing exactly who your target market is is one of the key and necessary ingredients needed for your business’s success.
You should have a clear idea of the type of person that you are appealing to with your business product or service. If you need a clearer idea of the type of person that would be interested in your offering, you may want to partake in some market research on various platforms, which can be incredibly helpful when defining who your target market is.
Only by knowing your target market will you be able to properly market towards them.
Get to know your competition
While some say that you should ignore the competition and focus on yourself, we say that it is important to have a healthy idea of what your competition is doing. While you should never copy your competition, you should always be finding a way in which you can gain a slight edge on them, and you’ll only be able to do that if you have a well-rounded idea of what they are up to.
If you have not yet started a business, always keep an eye on your potential competition, as well as businesses that you admire.
Are you a young and inspiring entrepreneur? Well, the good news for you is that the UK government offers free mentorship programs to ensure that you are on the right track! Find out more about free mentorship here.
You may think you know it all, but you’ll be extremely surprised by how much value proper business mentorship could add to the success of your business.
Write an in-depth business plan
One of the major keys to being a successful entrepreneur is the ability to write up in-depth business plans. Why are detailed business plans so necessary? First, they give you a structure to refer back to should you feel confused about anything that you planned upon. Second, they help you make decisions and think about things that you may not have even thought of should you not have made a business plan. Third, your business plan will be seen by lenders if you apply for loans, and whether or not you get your loan may depend heavily on your business plan.
Things to include in your business plan are:
- The type of business structure you wish to follow
- Your supply chain
- How your product will be made or how you will provide your service
- The amount of capital you need
- The start-up costs
- Your target market
- Where you plan to be based
- A 3 year plan
Access the funding you need
There are not many entrepreneurs who have the luxury of having enough money of their own to start up the business of their dreams. And there are many cases to be made against using your own money for your business ventures. Some of the ways in which you can access funding for your start-up include:
- Look for grants – Are you starting up a social enterprise? There are a number of grants that aim to help these sorts of enterprises.
- Crowdfunding – Crowdfunding is a relatively new phenomenon in which funds are raised through social platforms.
- Investors – Getting investors to buy shares in your start-up is quite a tricky process, but it can be a great way to access the funds you need.
- Loans – If you have a solid business plan and a good credit history, obtaining a loan from the bank or from a private lender should not be too difficult.
In the UK, there are many ways in which you can obtain capital for your business. But remember, taking out too big of a loan can really hurt you in the long run. It may be better to look for ways of reducing start-up costs, of which there are always many!
Ensure that you are 100% compliant
It is all good and well to have creative business ideas, but you still need to ensure that you have both feet on the ground and ensure that your business is completely compliant. In the UK, there are a couple of things that you need to be aware of, including:
- Registering your business – Even if your business is an informal one, it needs to be registered with HMRC if you wish to remain compliant. You’ll need to decide whether you want to register as a sole trader or as a limited company, both of which have their pros and cons.
- Registering as an employer – Are you employing anyone other than yourself? You’ll need to ensure that you register as an employer.
- Tax – There are several tax requirements and obligations in the UK, including NICs, income tax, and VAT. Ensure that you are aware of your tax requirements and that you pay your tax on time!
There are numerous other factors that you need to consider, including insurance, health and safety, and more, if you want to be fully compliant. It is your responsibility to research into what you need to do legally when it comes to the size of your business as well as the industry you’re in.
Network with other young entrepreneurs
While it can be tempting to isolate yourself as you work on great ideas, one of the ways in which you will understand entrepreneurship better, and the pros and cons that come along with it, is by mingling and talking to other entrepreneurs. You never know; you may meet your future partner or hone down an excellent business idea by talking to other entrepreneurs.
Looking at insurance
One of the common mistakes that young entrepreneurs make is forgoing insurance, and this often means that they have to learn the hard way before understanding just how important business insurance is.
Yes, insurance can be a costly monthly expense. But in most cases it is worth it as it will protect you if things go horribly wrong. And it should be known that in certain cases, having specific types of business insurance is completely necessary and obligatory. This is especially the case if you have employees, as well as company vehicles.
Do your research into insurance, and see what types of insurance are recommended for your type of business.
Invest in a strong brand identity
Whatever industry you’re in, you’re bound to have many competitors. One way to stand out is through a strong brand identity. Potential customers should be able to recognise your logo and company colours at a glance. Make sure your brand identity aligns with what your brand stands for and is a good representation of what you do!
Promote your business the right way
Once you have everything in order, it is time to start promoting your business. As much as this can be seen as a somewhat ‘fun’ step, it can also be extremely nerve-wracking as it may be the first time the public is seeing and interacting with your brand. To get an idea of what the public reaction may be, you may want to partake in some market research before fully launching your business’s marketing campaign.
Employing trustworthy and professional marketing professionals will also help ease the stress of this step and ensure that your business is shown in the best possible light, marketed to your target market, and gets the right attention.
Dedicate time to learning and growing
In the world of business, things are always changing! It would really help you to keep your ear to the ground and be aware of current news, new laws, and legislation. This will allow you to adapt your business as need be. Take the COVID-19 pandemic as a great example of this. Those businesses unable to adapt had no choice but to close.
Never fall into the trap of thinking that you know everything about business. There is always more that you can learn, and the more knowledgeable you are, the more value you add to your business. These days there are so many free and accessible resources that will help you become a successful and knowledgeable entrepreneur, so be wise and make use of them!