An entrepreneurial mind-set has been proven to deliver an improvement in academic performance, confidence and all round aspiration. I believe that enterprise can be taught across all subjects and is not just restricted to the business studies classroom. An enterprising mind-set is about students gaining critical skills needed for the workplace and ultimately helping them gain their first step on the ladder. Students need to leave school with qualifications and also the skills to make things happen – without those skills, their qualifications are not enough.
I am launching the UK’s first start up scheme for teenagers called TeenBiz to provide young entrepreneurs the potential pathway to starting a business. In order for enterprise to have some longevity there needs to be a sustainable programme and TeenBiz aims to provide this. www.teenbiz.org.uk launched 1st November.
Top Tips for Starting a Business
- Get the basic set-up right
Ensure you have a good accountant and set up your company properly. Some people dive off with the exciting stuff like the website, logo etc and forget about the important basics.
- Have patience
Be realistic – businesses don’t boom overnight and you’ll need some patience to build an empire. There will be many hurdles, be robust, develop a thick skin and don’t quit! You need to create a brand and your reputation.
- Create a brand
You need to be clear of your USP (unique selling point) and the core value of your business ethos i.e. dynamic, creative, loyal. Brainstorm and form a ‘word bubble’ –something usually jumps out – sometimes the brain just needs a bit of warming up!
- Don’t be a scatter gun
You need to define your target consumer and enter their world with a marketing plan. What do they read? Where do they go? What social media do they use? Your brand needs to be in front of them. Talk to your consumers and do research, it may save you a lot of time and money. Self-promotion is critical to any entrepreneur, no matter what the industry is!
- Cut your cloth to suit your budget
When starting out, watch your overheads as every penny you spend eats into profit. When I first started out I worked from home, then rented an office a year on when we were busy and growing. Work within your budget and remember any additional add-ons such as phones, amenities and rates. Working for yourself can be lonely at times so looking into sharing office space, there are often many schemes available – particularly for start up businesses.
- Fail to plan, Plan to fail
Be realistic and brutally honest about your business plan! There is no point in cutting things out and ‘fudging’ the numbers – you are only misleading yourself. I work on the premise that it’s always better to under promise and over deliver. Include all costs, no matter how small, and be conservative with sales forecasts – that way you will avoid any issues or disappointments.
Claire Young – Entrepreneur, writer, media personality, passion for enterprise! Founder of TeenBiz UK’S first start up scheme for under18s, Founder School Speakers and Director Girls Out Loud. www.schoolspeakers.co.uk, www.girlsoutloud.org.uk, www.teenbiz.org.uk