Starting your venture as a young entrepreneur can feel like an impossible task. It often feels like you’re on your own and are clueless as to what the next step is in following your dreams of creating your own business. So we’ve spoken to a number of the top young entrepreneurs in today’s business world, asking for advice they would give to young entrepreneurs to help bring their idea to life.
1. Jordan Daykin, GripIt Fixings
Jordan began his journey at the age of 13, in his garden shed. He became the youngest person to ever get investment on Dragon’s Den and didn’t disappoint them from there on in. GripIt Fixings is now valued at upward of £10million.
“Starting your own business is hard work but if you put in the hard work, determination and persistence. It will all pay off. Nothing gets handed to you on a plate, you need to work for it.”
2. Ollie Forsyth, The Budding Entrepreneur & Ollie’s Shop
At age 13 Ollie created ‘Ollie’s Shop’, an online gift shop, turning over £13,000 in his first year.
‘’I started my first business aged 13, I know how tough it is when you are young. I would advise you just do it, don’t wait until next month to make it happen, make it happen tomorrow. I want to get things done, I sleep only five hours a night so just do it as soon as you can. If you are looking to start your own business, get a mentor and make sure your company is legally protected.’’
‘’The second piece of advice I would give is, don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do it. I was told I was a failure numerous times whilst at school. Those people who tell you, you can’t do it probably means they can’t do it themselves. If you’ve got a dream and a vision, go and chase it.’’
Ollie also wanted to add that anyone reading this who is keen to start their own business, please email firstname.lastname@example.org & receive two months of free membership at the TBE Club. www.ollieforsyth.com / www.tbeclub.com.
3. William Zhou, Chalk.com
William is the co-founder and CEO of Chalk.com, an education software company focused in K-12. The software is currently used in over 20,000 schools and is used to empower their students. He has recently been listed in Forbes 30 under 30.
“People fail to get their venture or idea started because they are afraid of failures. Instead of thinking these as binary outcomes of success and failure, this journey ought to be about the learnings that one could gain. When it is framed like this, the journey becomes less draughting.”
4. Ben Towers, Towers Design & Social Marley
Named by Richard Branson as “One of the UK’s most exciting entrepreneurs and ranked 34 out of 100 in the ‘Richtopia British Entrepreneurs’ Top 100 table, Ben’s prospects look promising to the say the least. At age 17 Ben was denied the opportunity to leave school and work on his own business, but as a true entrepreneur would, he worked a way around the problem, hiring himself as an intern at the company.
“Make sure you start as soon as possible, the longer you wait to start your business the more time there are for others to fill the space in the market or for you to have doubts and worries. I am a big believer of just doing it and not waiting around for things. Also, make sure you surround yourself with people who have similar ambitions and goals to you so you can help and support each other.”
5. Nick Holzherr, Whisk.com
Nick is an entrepreneur and the CEO of Whisk.com, a smart grocery shopping list application that allows users to send their lists into online grocery supermarket baskets with a few clicks. Since launching in June 2012, the company has won many of the UK’s biggest retailers, FMCG brands and digital food publishers as clients.
“The most important thing you should do once you have a good idea – validate customer acquisition. Most entrepreneurs starting out have a hypothesis about why their idea will work. It’s important to test those assumptions before and during starting the business up. The most important thing to test in my experience is customer acquisition – how will you get people to buy your product? There are of course hundreds of potential customer acquisition channel, but the key question is will they work profitably? For example: You want to sell via a website: How much traffic will you be able to get to the site? How much will each click cost you? You should test it – start a website – see how much traffic comes to it and if you’re paying for traffic how much that costs you. Estimate and then test what percentage turns into customers (build a fake payment page if you need to). You’ll then have a Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). That number is critical – because you can then look at what your CAC is in comparison with your LTV (customer Life Time Value). Ideally you’re looking for something above 3.”
6. Jacques Huppes, StuDocu
Jacques, along with three friends, founded popular study resource sharing website StuDocu. StuDocu allows students to upload and download past exam papers, book summaries and other useful documents to help them pass their exams. The company has flourished and is experiencing high levels of worldwide growth, helping to achieve their goal of providing accessible education for all students.
“Starting a business as a student is a great opportunity. The costs of starting an online business can be very low, if you don’t count giving up your precious moments on the coach as costs. The nice thing of being a student entrepreneur is that you only have to take care of yourself and you are not spoiled yet by a pay check. I would advise everybody to breed your own little company next to your studies”.
7. Peter & Austin, Smathers and Branson
When you found a company in 2004 and by 2008 its revenue is $2.5million you know you’ve made some correct choices somewhere along the line. The pair are proud owners and CEOs of Smathers and Branson.
“We couldn’t have created or grown Smathers and Branson without the strength of our partnership. We’ve witnessed many businesses that suffer because of feuding partners. If you decide to start a business or invent a product with someone else, pick them carefully and structure the dissolution of your partnership before you start the business. If you have that in place and don’t have the luck that we’ve had, then you’ll have your breakup planned. “
“Like any good idea, a business is a dynamic ever changing entity. You should always be looking and listening openly to the market and your customers. We often see young entrepreneurs myopically focused on a vision. Focus like this can be a huge asset, but also an achilles heal. Opportunity knocks very softly sometimes and can be found on the periphery of ones initial vision. Don’t overlook these. Too many times we have seen entrepreneurs miss opportunities by failing to listening to the market and their customers.”
So there you have it, profound advice from some of the most successful young entrepreneurs in today’s day and age. If you need some more insights about the creation of your own business, we recommend you to check out the website FitSmallBusiness.com and have a look at their work – for example, this article: ‘How to write a business plan in 9 easy steps‘.
But first, finish studying before you can follow your dreams of starting your own business! Save yourself hours upon hours by using StuDocu.com for all your study notes and summaries!
Italian student living in Amsterdam and doing my Masters in Business Administration. Currently doing an internship at Studocu, where I write for the official blog among other things!