Much like volunteering, starting a small business can do wonders for your local community. Selling homemade products, baked goods, or anything else you can dream up generates tax revenue for your county. This can improve roads, schools, and other public facilities. If you’re in your teens, starting your business can also be incredibly beneficial. You can make your own hours (which is super helpful during the school year), learn the ins and outs of entrepreneurship, and save money for college.
Want to learn more about how you can start your own business before college? Words Between Coasts shares these five top tips.
Develop an abbreviated business plan
While you probably won’t have the need to develop a full business plan, creating an abbreviated version is valuable. A traditional business plan includes descriptions of your company and its mission, a market analysis, a list of your products, financial projections, and your marketing strategy. Business plans are put together primarily for attracting investors.
Rather than writing a formal report, use this template as a way to organize your ideas. If you’ve just started thinking about what you want to sell, where you want to sell it, and how you plan to acquire customers, start writing everything down. From there, sort this information into categories so that it is structured similarly to a business plan. Doing this will allow you to keep all of your ideas in one place and help guide you through the initial startup phase.
As part of your business plan, consider where you’ll be working. Are you working from home, your own office, or a shared workspace? If you’re choosing to work from home, find a space you designate for work away from distractions. Then maximize your productivity by picking up items such as a high-resolution monitor, standup desk, a wireless noise-canceling headset, and ergonomic chair.
Select a creative name and logo for your business
Think about the brands you most admire. Are their names and logos generic or unique? In the world of business, having a creative name and logo is highly important. The name and logo you select will help you stand out from your competitors, and may even tell potential customers what you sell.
As you file your business’s legal name, typically as an LLC, consider creating what is known as a DBA name (which stands for “doing business as”). A DBA name is helpful for several reasons. First, if you find that your chosen website domain isn’t available, you can come up with a DBA name instead. Also, if you later decide to offer new products or services, you can change your name with ease.
Creating an appealing logo can be cost-effective and simple if you look for design logo online free tools. A logo maker allows you to choose from thousands of professionally created logos and customize your copy, font, colors, and more.
Build a list of your services and/or products
On to the fun part: creating a list of your services and/or products. This is one of the most exciting steps when starting a business. Let your imagination run free with limitless possibilities. Ask yourself questions such as “What items do I want to sell?”, “What will my customers like?”, and “What am I most passionate about offering?”. Rather than trying to sell products or services that you think you “should” sell, make sure that you are excited about your selection. This is your business, so you get to make the rules!
When writing up your product/service list, think about how much you will charge for each item. Start by considering all costs involved. Then, tack on an hourly rate for the time it takes for you to make each product. If you plan on offering services only (e.g. graphic design services, lawn mowing, etc.), decide on a per project cost or an hourly rate.
Design a website
Promote your business with a beautifully designed website. Research all available options for creating a website, including DIY platforms and web design services. Work with your parent or guardian to establish a budget and to pay for any services or subscriptions that you’ll need.
Find places to sell
Once you have everything in place, it is time to start selling. Since most farmers markets and vendor fairs require you to be 18 to sign up, you will need to ask your parent/guardian to sign you up for (and take you to) each event. Many online marketplaces also require someone of legal age to cosign for people under 18.
Starting your own business before college is a fabulous way to get real-world work experience. Working for yourself means that you need to learn a host of skills that will put you at a big advantage early on in your adult life.