6 Things to Consider When Starting a Business as a Teenager
Businesses can provide you with a little extra cash, help you get through college or even become a full-time endeavor.
As a teenager, there are many upsides to starting a business — and really no reasons you shouldn’t.
Here are 6 things to consider when starting a business to maximize your chances of success as a teen entrepreneur.
1. Is your business idea feasible?
When you’re starting a business, you want it to succeed.
However, it’s common for new entrepreneurs – at any age – to become fixated on a business idea that isn’t exactly feasible. As a teenager, it’s unlikely that you’re going to have the know-how – or the time – to build the next greatest tech innovation.
Instead, to maximize your chances of business success, pick an idea that you know you can follow through on, from the initial creation of the product/service, to marketing it, to knowing that there are enough people within your reach who could be benefitted from your business.
2. Who your customer is and what do they need?
Once you’ve settled on an idea for the product or service you want to provide, you need to figure out who’s most likely to want to buy this product/use your service.
To answer this, ask yourself:
What problem is your business solving for your customer?
What are the likes and dislikes of your target customer?
Where is your target customer likely to look for the product/service you’re providing?
This is just a starting point; you can research and build up a customer profile on your own to give you an even greater idea of how to appeal to your customer.
3. What the legal requirements are for you to run your business?
No matter what age you are, there are legal requirements that must be adhered to by every business making money in the United States.
This should be one of the first things you consider as a teenager starting a new business, as you’ll need to get the necessary permits and paperwork to make your business legal, so you can begin selling to customers.
You can check online or with local officials to learn what you need to do to legally launch your business.
4. What unique value are you going to provide to your customers?
Now that you know what your product/service is and who you’re going to market it to, you need to figure out why your customers will come to your business over another that offers a similar product or service.
This is your Unique Selling Point (USP). Are you offering a product/service at a considerably lower price than your competitors? Are you offering an experience that your customer couldn’t get anywhere else? Figure out your business’ USP to draw customers in (and keep them).
Bonus tip: overdeliver on the value you promise to keep customers coming back to your business and to reap valuable word-of-mouth marketing when they tell others about your stellar product or service.
5. How are you going to market your business?
The old adage "build it and they will come" isn’t as relevant in the modern world of business, with competition sky-high in pretty much every field, as entrepreneurship becomes ever more popular.
Using your newfound knowledge of your customer, you need to figure out how best to target them at a low cost – since, as a young person, you’re probably not swimming in cash.
Social media is a good way to target the type of consumer you’re looking for if you’re building a business online, considering that different social media platforms are popular with different demographics.
However, if you’re offering a local service, then advertising through the network of people you know, printing out business cards and posting them and putting up flyers is a good way to target local leads. Likewise, sites such as Craigslist can help you target locals online.
6. What is your plan for the future of your business?
As a teenager, you’re in some of the most transitional years of your life, as you move from high school to college – or straight into the working world. You’ll need to put extra thought into where you want your business to go over the next couple of years.
Is your business a way to make some extra cash on the side? Or are you hoping to have your business become your main source of income once you’ve finished up with your education?
In either case, you’ll want to develop a long-term plan for where you want to see your business over the coming years – and how you plan to sustain or end your business as your life undergoes the changes that come with being a young adult.
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
These Co-Founders Are Using 'Quiet Confidence' to Flip the Script on Cutthroat Startup Culture and Make Their Mark on a $46 Billion Industry
My 7-Year-Old Daughter Started Selling Eggs. Here's What She Taught Me About Running a Startup.
Why You Need to Become an Inclusive Leader (and How to Do It)
Career Transitions You Can Make in Your 40s and 50s
Billionaire Naveen Jain Is an Expert at Disrupting Fields He Has No Experience In. His Secret Sauce for Building Multi-Million Dollar Companies? 'You Have to Come as Naive.'
4 Principles to Develop Next-Level Leadership at Your Company
This Filipino American Founder Is Disrupting the Beverage Aisle by Introducing New Flavors to the Crowded Bubbly Water Market