Are you in high school and have got an idea for a business that you’d like to start? Not sure how to go about it?
Well, keep reading because we’ve got three tips that can help you get your business idea off the ground! But first, for some inspiration, you should check out the video below to learn about how Rowan made his start.
There’s no time to waste, you’ve got a business to start, so let’s get straight into it!
Tip #1: Eat Your Own Dog Food
An important term here is the Circle of Competence, coined by Warren Buffett, the famous investor. So, when he’s trying to pick a business to invest in, he’ll only choose one in which he has a really good understanding of the area it’s in (his circle of competence).
Now, the same applies to you. When you’re starting a business in high school, you want to be focussing on something that you have a really good understanding of — you know it backwards.
Why? Because this understanding gives you what is called informational advantage! This means from your experiences, you have some kind of knowledge which gives you the upper hand compared to others when starting your business in high school.
This is really important because, it’s true, starting a business is hard, hard work.
Look at famous teenage entrepreneurs and how they got to where they are. Their businesses are based on experiences they’ve had in life, their circle of competence.
This could be babysitting, sports-coaching, photography, selling shoes or drones, it might be app design — categories in which teenagers would have experience. So, do something you know really well and you’re passionate about.
Through this, you’ll be able to eat your own dog food because you understand the problem and through this, can come up with the product or solution.
Tip #2: Feedback First! Then Build
An easy mistake but a big one! Rowan’s made this mistake and he’s also seen students and entrepreneurs of all ages do the same.
Lucky for you, you’ve now been warned, so pay close attention!
Let’s say, you’ve come up with a brilliant business idea and decide to jump right in — you quit your job, work really hard on the product or solution, you put everything into it and then when it’s launched, no-one wants it.
To put it bluntly, it’s been a waste of your time, energy and money. The thing is you missed one important step that could have saved you all the heartache: getting feedback from your customers from Day 1.
Either you would have left the business idea aside because well, it wasn’t really as great as you thought or you could have changed or reworked the product or solution to better fit the needs of your target group.
Understand Your Customer
So, you’ve got your business idea (sweet!), but instead of building it right away, you first need to consider who your customer is.
Now, if you’ve followed the first tip, eat your own dog food, then you are that customer which means you probably know a whole lot of other people like you — they’ve got the same problem.
What’s next? You’re going to speak to those potential customers. It’s not a product or solution pitch, instead you’re going to find out what problems they have in regards to the area you want to start a business in.
You’ll quickly discover whether it’s just a problem you experience or whether it’s something more widely experienced. From there, you need to find out what the customer wants, what would be their solution to this problem in a world where they had everything they needed to design this perfect solution.
And that’s the magic of getting feedback first — you know what your audience wants and what they would pay for. Then you’re on the right track before you even begin building your business.
Tip #3: Model Success
There’s two ways you can do this. The first, conduct market research. So if there’s a similar business around, have a good look at it, what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, what makes them successful and so on.
Do your research so you can learn from them and through this, you can kind of use it as a blueprint. Just as Tony Robbins said, “Success leaves clues,” so find out what makes the business tick and what you can do to have a successful and competitive business. There’s a clue in there somewhere.
You can also look globally — it doesn’t have to be one in the same country you’re in. Rowan actually started an organisation called Uni Australia which was like a Tripadvisor for Australian universities where you could see all the reviews for Australian unis on one website.
Now, Rowan admits this wasn’t a new idea — companies in the United States had already done this. It just wasn’t yet in Australia so Rowan looked at how the companies in the United States did this, he studied them and then brought those findings back to Australia and improved on them.
Find a Mentor
Onto the next one — find a mentor! Think about the type of person or entrepreneur you aspire to be or the kind of business you wish to create.
Now go and look for someone you can learn from — whether they have a business in a similar kind of area or certain skills you wish to learn. They could be someone in your local area, state, country or even across the world.
Study them and how they got to where they are, what they did, what makes them successful and tick. Then reach out to them and see if you can have a chat to learn something new from them.
And there you go!
Those are Rowan’s three tips for how to start a business in high school!
They’re really that simple: Eat your own dog food, get feedback first before you start to build your business and model success. Off you go, you’ve got a business to start!
If you’re looking for more careers advice, check out some of our other articles below:
- How to Use LinkedIn as a High School Student to Start Building Your Professional Network
- Email Etiquette for High School Students: How to Write a Professional Email
- The 5 Step Guide to Getting a Job After Finishing the HSC!
- Top 10 Most Employable Degrees in Australia
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Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.