Indeed, 19-year-old David Humpston won funding through the Edge Challenge in 2014 – a unique competition for budding entrepreneurs. The finals of the competition were held at The Skills Show, the UK’s largest skills and careers event, which is supported by the Edge Foundation and Premier Colleges as Lead Sponsors. Since then, Humpston, the entrepreneur behind Viewpoint Videos, has built a sustainable, viable and, most importantly, profitable business model. Here he shares his top tips to encourage future entrepreneurs to set up – whatever their age.
When I was 18, like many others my age, I thought about going to university. There are so many courses on offer, and so much debt! At the time I wasn’t sure what I would want to do as a career.
With little guarantee of a job through some higher education options, I thought it would be much better to start my own business. In the worst-case scenario, I would be in less debt than if I had gone to university to study business, but I would have learnt more.
When I was recognised as the winner of the Edge Challenge at The Skills Show last year, it gave me so much motivation to pursue a startup business. It was a real boost to win a recognised award and to receive it from the deputy prime minister at the time, Nick Clegg, was an unforgettable experience.
Since then, the business has become financially stable and is growing steadily. It shows that age should not be and is not necessarily a barrier to starting a business.
The most important step is to start. It’s best not to fear failure, as the only way to know if something will work is to try it out. I
t is unlikely that the first concept for a business will be successful, so to start with it is important to create a minimum viable product (a small version of your product or service that doesn’t cost as much to create as the final product, but close enough to test out on your target market and get feedback). Once you have the first stage, test it, ask for feedback, and re-iterate.
It’s a matter of belief
There will always be doubts when starting a new business, especially from friends and family who don’t want you to fail. It’s important to remain determined in the first few months, and to take negative feedback constructively.
Always try to use feedback effectively, and remember that you can’t please everyone – the target market is normally enough.
Run it past someone
At school it is considered cheating to ask for help or to have others contribute to your work. It’s the opposite in the business world. Some people may be proud of creating a solution “by themselves”, but a business cannot remain a one-man-band if it wishes to grow.
I am lucky to have a great mentor – there are many organisations and individuals willing to help those starting out in business. The Skills Show, (where I participated in the Edge Challenge), is a great source of encouragement for tens of thousands of young people.
A business is just a group of people, working as a team to create something useful for other people. Those working within a business must work as a team to create product or service at a price point that their customers are willing to pay, and they must be resourceful enough to leave a margin so that all staff can be paid and jobs are secure. This might be oversimplifying, but it is all about people!
In my short experience of business to date, the best advice I can give is to embrace opportunities and focus on re-iterating to improve. There’s nothing more fulfilling than creating a product or service that people love.
This year, the Edge Challenge Final will take place once again at The Skills Show, an annual event that showcases vocational careers and apprenticeships to approximately 75,000 people. If you’re planning on attending The Skills Show, look out for the Edge Challenge Final on Thursday 19 November and you can spot the entrepreneurs of tomorrow in action as they pitch their businesses to a panel of experts.Free to attend, The Skills Show is the nation’s largest skills and careers event that helps to shape the future of a new generation. It will take place 19-21 November 2015 at the NEC Birmingham.
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