So, you’ve decided to start a business, even though you’re young and don’t have much experience. Stay calm .There is a plethora of advantages to starting a business when you are young, including higher long-term financial gains and (hopefully) a high level of commitment, energy and enthusiasm and a desire to create professional change for the better.
However, before you get too deep into your entrepreneurial dream planning strategy, there are a few important things to know about starting a business before you’re 30 years old:
1. No experience… is this a problem?
Whether you’re accepting parental investment, applying to “Angel Investors” in NZ, looking for private investors or funding your business yourself, as you look for that first round of investors, you’ll find that early financial supporters will be basing most of their first impressions on the depth of experience you can offer. Unfortunately, this is going to be one of your biggest weaknesses: You simply won’t have nearly as much experience as experienced industry salon owners, and your parents and /or other investors will question whether you are a good investment. Don’t “roll your eyes” as it is in your interests and theirs to ask a million questions and you need to be able to answer them intelligently and professionally.
Remove the frown; you don’t want forehead crinkles! There are actually substitutes for experience. Don’t have experience of your own? You can get some secondhand;
- By partnering with someone who has the background you lack, or
- By working alongside a mentor willing to share her expertise.
- Buy an existing business that fits within your salon dream parameters.
You can also offer parents and or investors hard evidence, social proof or a demonstration of your talent to compensate for your lack of experience. For example you have;
- Marketing expertise.
- Social media contacts on at least four platforms.
- National and an International Industry Qualification.
- Certificated membership with your Industry National Body.
- Profile on Linked In.
- Joined the Local Business Community e.g. B.N.I (Business Network International).
- Exceptional health and fitness levels to sustain the hours required to run a business.
- A positive disposition and an ability to mix with people of all ages and cultures successfully.
As long as you are aware of what your weaknesses are and find a way to make up for them, the “experience” factor shouldn’t be a problem.
2. Financial matters… why do we need to talk about credit?
Before you start a business, you must have your personal finances in order. But before you can start building credit in a business, you need to have personal credit, and well you may ask – What’s that?
Sadly that’s something not a lot of twentysomethings have.
Without personal credit, you’ll have a harder time persuading parents, partners and or investors to part with their money; and securing a line of business credit will be nearly impossible. To make matters even worse, you likely won’t have a steady line of profit (or income) for the first six or more months of your business (or even years). Think carefully about how you’re going to pay those bills and make ends meet during that time.
Currently if you’re drowning in debt, and have little-to-no savings, you have some work to do before starting a business. Suggestions;
- Get instant budgeting advice.
- Get the latest budget planner app – I did a search this minute on the Apple app store and was overwhelmed by the list available.
- Start reading 30 pages a day from the best business minds and brilliant experts whilst you save.
- Keep reading 30 pages a day your entire life – glean systems that you can truly follow to transform your business and personal life.
- Search for a local accountant and have a consultation with them – check that it is complimentary!
- Explain to the accountant about your mission and request information from her as to what her business could offer you as a startup business.
Empower yourself with the skills to make your dreams come true – every morning look in the mirror and say to yourself –
if it is meant to be, it is up to ME !
3. Mmm well, if it fails, you have time to make amends!
In investing, in business and life in general, younger industry souls are “akin to risk-taking”. If you make a catastrophic error, such as a bad investment, learn from it, you’ll have the time to make up for that mistake over the course of your life.
You’ll also have fewer assets to lose – maybe your car and some furniture, and not be as “tied down” having a mortgage and children, meaning you’ll be more adaptable and can flexibly accommodate almost any challenges or surprises that come your way. As an added bonus, when you’re young, if you take a risk and fail, it will be seen as a natural byproduct of your inexperience and enthusiasm, rather than a reflection of your character and abilities. So, take advantage by taking more risks while you’re young and don’t tell your parents I am advocating this to you! Remember; Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
4. As my father said to me; “Don’t be like a bull at a gate.” Yes, he was a sheep station farmer but with a wise head on his shoulders.
Young professionals tend to have energy to spare, and a passion that simply isn’t matched by their more experienced Industry colleagues. This comes with a lot of positives, such as higher productivity and more enjoyment in your actual work, but it also often leads young entrepreneurs to act quickly without thinking, or spend money with reckless abandon in an effort to buy or build a beauty therapy business as fast as possible.
My father’s advice remains valid, albeit I received it 50 years ago; slow down. Understand that you have your entire life ahead of you, and even though it’s exciting to think about creating / buying your business and growing it to outstanding proportions adorned in bright lights, it’s nothing that can’t wait. If you become too eager and impatient, you’ll end up compromising your chances at long-term success.
5. Enjoy the journey – and ask for help.
You are young and you will have at least four other businesses in your lifetime – this one that you create or purchase in 2017 won’t be the end of your entrepreneurial journey. Reality reminds us of that statistic about how long new businesses stay afloat and how many succeed and fail over the first five years in operation. Google the statistic if you have the need to know it.
But regardless of whether your business succeeds or fails, you will eventually exit it, or chase other pursuits. I have owned, created and purchased salons as “going concerns “ seven times over 35 years in the industry and for the last three years; I have begun importing the Observ diagnostic skin analysis machine and am distributing across Australasia! Woohoo; and I still have the passion, I work with one talented team member, I have the energy to enjoy this new journey in industry… and we ask for help every week and I am still reading 30 pages a day!
Do look at your new beauty therapy business as a stepping stone, you’ll bear less stress from the little things and be able to make decisions with greater perspective and future-focused thinking. Do seek a mentor, do ask for help and adapt with professional education on the journey.
Welcome to the business world.
Written for BeautyNZ magazine by Margaret Walsh
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