7 Ways Younger Entrepreneurs Can Be Taken More Seriously The new and unproven businessperson must develop credibility with investors and employees, suppliers and customers.

By Brennan Agranoff

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Being an entrepreneur is hard, but it is even harder for a young entrepreneur. Credibility is vital to the growth of a business. Having it with potential investors, employees, customers or suppliers is difficult if you are new or young. Fortunately, there are effective ways to establish your credibility and to be taken seriously in your industry, regardless of age.

Be passionate.

Steve Jobs said, "People with passion can change the world." If you have no passion for your ideas as a young entrepreneur, nobody else will either. It is essential to be passionate about whatever industry you are in. It can be difficult to own a business, and it is a long-term commitment, so before going forward be sure to be 100 percent committed to giving it your all.

Furthermore, allow this passion of yours to be seen, heard and felt by your business partners, investors, clients and employees. Make it manifest; create belief in your idea in those around you.

Have confidence.

Young entrepreneurs need to show their investors, clients and employees that they are in for the long haul, taking their business and relationships seriously. It is important to present yourself in such a way that shows others that you are knowledgeable in your industry and have value to provide.

Without confidence, you are sure to fail, whether as a young entrepreneur or a seasoned veteran. Be sure your voice is heard and gain visibility by exuding confidence.

Be respectful.

Respect is one of your most powerful tools in business, as well as in life. Being respectful can mean many things to other people, young or old. No matter what your feelings about it are, it is critical to be respectful at all times. It's not about getting something in return from those you show respect to; it is because respect helps to build mutual trust and credibility.

Do your homework.

Regardless of how much experience you have in a particular industry, you must do lots of research to learn the ins-and-outs before entering it as a young business owner. Begin your research by using online resources.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Conduct Primary Market Research

Connect with experts in your prospective field and read up on all the latest trends. Ask many questions and look for answers. Who are your competitors? Who are the main players in your industry? Who is your target audience? How do you know there is a need for your service or product? Become an expert on your services, products and industry.

When you do your homework, investors, clients and employees take notice. Suddenly, they take your goals as seriously as you do.

Have an open mind.

Without an open mindset in today's ever-changing world, you will be left behind. It is the driving force behind every decision you must make. Having an open mind allows you to learn and grow as a young professional. It allows you to take feedback from others so you can improve yourself. When you have an open mind, you always believe you can do more.

Related: 7 Common Mistakes Young Leaders Often Make but Don't Have to

Entrepreneurs with an open mindset believe that intelligence is developed through their hard work and their failures. They develop a passion for learning. The success of your entrepreneurial journey is largely determined by how you learn and grow not only as a business owner but also as a person.

Be relatable.

One challenge many young entrepreneurs face is being relatable. The first thing you must do is stop trying to convince people of your worth and find those who already know it. They are out there; you just have to get out there and find them. Let the world know what you have to offer and deliver it to them.

Related: 3 Ways Over-Delivering Value Gives Entrepreneurs an Advantage

As a young entrepreneur, it is also significant to be relatable to friends and family. It can be difficult for them to see that what you are doing is serious, and it is no longer just an idea. So, it is important to accept that your family and friends may not fully be able to relate to what you are going through or why you choose to go through it. However, that does not mean that you do not need their support. Try to find a balance between your social life and your entrepreneurial life.

Be a contributor.

Age is never a factor when it comes to contributing. Although you are new at entrepreneurship, chances are you can provide helpful insight simply because of your demographic or geographic background or the research that you have completed prior to choosing your particular industry. While you may not want to be known as one who only speaks from a certain perspective, it can be a great starting point when you want to be taken seriously.

This can also mean contributing to your local community. Investing some time and resources into the community can play a valuable role in the growth of your company. It is easy to help contribute as a young entrepreneur; consider sponsoring a non-profit, volunteer at a soup kitchen or food drive, or perhaps purchase supplies and materials from local vendors to donate to a local charity. Not only will your contribution benefit the community, but it also builds relationships with local businesses.

Brennan Agranoff

Founder & CEO of HoopSwagg

Brennan Agranoff founded his sports apparel customization company HoopSwagg at age 13. He was named the 2017 Teen Entrepreneur of the Year by Baylor University.

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