As a teen owner of a small business, I have faced the reckless and humiliating challenges of feeling idle and ignorant when attempting to earn money by presenting a new idea to the market, and not knowing where to start. School courses don't usually focus on teaching young aspiring entrepreneurs the basics of establishing a strong business, and we are left unarmed on the market battlefield as we try to discover through trial and error how to properly build a brand that fulfills our dreams. To avoid this exhausting process and put an end to this added struggle, here's a list of the 5 basic steps to establishing a small business as a teen.
1) Know and Master Your Product
First and foremost, you need to decide which product you are to sell, and the easiest way to do this is to recognize your abilities and reality. To make this easier, you can ask yourself these questions:
1. What am I good at? If you are innately good at producing what you are going to sell, and enjoy creating this product, the process will become much simpler. For example, if you consider yourself a skilled baker, your business could be centered around selling sweet treats.
2 What is sustainable in my reality? Your product must be something that you are able to produce in the long term; this may depend on how much time or capital you can invest in your process of production. For instance, if your product demands an extended amount of time to be manufactured, once school tasks increase, this business will become unsustainable. Another example of this is if the raw material you use for each good is increasingly limited. There may be a moment in which you will no longer have access to it, and your product can no longer be presented to the market.
3. What would customers buy from me? After you identify the ideal product, you must ask yourself, "Would people purchase this?" The market is regulated by supply and demand, and the latter will define if your product will be objectively successful. A reality check is in order for this decision; is your product something you would purchase, or is this simply platonic?
This last question leads us to the second step: recognizing your target audience.
2) Recognize Your Target Audience
After deciding which product you're going to sell, you need to identify who this product is directed towards. If you are selling sports attire, your target audience will be athletes. If you are planning on selling Harry Styles-themed phone cases, your target audience will be Harry Styles fans, who are usually teenagers (an assumption that allows you to roughly aim your product).
Naturally, other people not belonging to these groups—athletes or Harry Styles fans—can approach your business, but the main customers will be those in these audiences. Recognizing these groups allows you to reinforce aspects of your product that attract these people, build relationships with other sellers in this area, and improve your marketing by aiming it at certain people. For example, if your target audience is athletes, your taglines can be focused on something relatable to these people, which makes it easier for them to approach your product and for your brand to become better known.
3) Embrace Social Media Platforms
When you have recognized your target audience, you are ready to create the ideal marketing campaign, something vital to today's market. We as young entrepreneurs have a major benefit: social media. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok have proven to be excellent assets for marketing and growing your business. A simple post can reach millions, which is why you should embrace these and empower your business by being active in them.
A simple Instagram account can go a long way and be the factor that turns a good business into a great one. By knowing who your target audience is, your posts can have a theme and focus on attracting customers that the algorithm has deemed ideal viewers of your post. Additionally, your friends can easily share your posts in order to spread your brand even further, and your personal creativity can be reflected in your unique advertising by establishing brand colors or a special design that identifies your brand!
An example of a brand with an amazing social media strategy is Duolingo, which, after launching its TikTok account, has become the #1 educational app in the AppStore.
@duolingo reevaluating all of @taylorswift’s songs from the past 13 years #Duolingo #swifttok #swiftie #taylornation #midnights ♬ original sound - Summer (Taylor’s Version)
In this example, the mastermind behind Duolingo's marketing has identified its target audience (teenagers) and used a famous topic amongst them (Taylor Swift) to reach millions around the world and appear on their For You Page.
4) Take Your Time Calculating Expenses
The financial aspect of establishing a business is unavoidable, and it is necessary to organize and carefully take your time when going through this process. It's vital for any businessperson to be meticulous when tracking expenses and calculating costs, ranging from the raw material you'll use to the cost of the details you'll be adding to the presentation of your product.
You should register every cent earned and spent on your business, which allows you to observe changes in your brand's economy and implement improvements. The easiest way to do this is to keep an Excel document, which allows you to calculate costs easily and keep a great structure of your finances. Here is a simple tutorial on how to use these spreadsheets to your favor, and practice will make these processes easier:
5) Fall In Love With Your Brand
Lastly, it is a must for you to fall in love with your brand. The best way to sell is knowing how to present your brand before the public, and it is easier to get peoples' attention if you yourself believe that your brand is the best in the market.
Apart from knowing your product, your persuasive skills will come in when selling. These are best developed if you feel driven toward what you're trying to sell, which is why you need to show that your product is worth buying and talk about it in a way that demonstrates how great it is. Talk about your business every chance you have, and show that you are engaged in the subject to engage others; love your brand to make others love it.
You are now ready to start your small business! By following these steps, this rigorous process will be simplified, and the outcome will be as admirable as you determine it to be. Remember that nothing good comes easy, and if you commit yourself to starting your own business as a teenager, multiple benefits will storm into your life and you will become a leader of something great. Good luck!