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49 Replies Latest reply: May 20, 2012 1:45 PM by Moderator Berta RSS

Is it "too early" to start a small business?

Dervie Novice
Currently Being Moderated

I'm at the age of 16 and I'm highly interested in starting up a small business. Believe me, I'm at the point where my goal is to open a store or some sort of business and just be in charge. In all honesty, I do not have the experience, however, the research comes after my decision on whether or not I should start one. I know this may come as a joke to some, but ever since I had been required to make a decision in school on what I'd like to be in the future, I simply answered "A businessman". Financially, I may not be able to lease a building, but surely I've got enough to lease some areas (such as Fleamarkets, a Kiosk, etc).

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    LUCKIEST Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    It is NEVER too early to start a small business

     

    Common knowledge to others, but in many ways new to you. Learn before you start your business

     

    It’s important to not put the cart before the horse. 

     

    LUCKIEST

    • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
      CorpCons08 Master
      Currently Being Moderated

      LUCKIEST,

       

      This individual is 16 years old! They are not looking at starting a lawn care business, or a snow removal service. They are looking to open up a store front. Why would you encourage that, knowing that they are going to find themselves facing contracts, leases, etc. that they cannot sign into?

       

      Regards,

       

      Dan

      • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
        jwmann2 Newbie
        Currently Being Moderated

        You need to be 18 for a lot of the regulations and paperwork, leases, etc. You also need money. No way you have a serious amount of money to start a business at the age of 16. You also need to have a great amount of credit established.

        Go to college and get your degree. Get a decent job after college and start saving for your business. Keep all of your options open in case your business doesn't work out, that way you can go and work for someone else and have a steady salary. Best of luck to you. Keep studying up on business. 

        FromThisSeat.com

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    CorpCons08 Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Dervie,

     

    While it is very admirable that you want to start your own business, you are far from ready to "jump in" to any project. There are many obstacles that are in your way right now, and the most obvious one is age. In order to enter into contracts (including business formation paperwork, leases, etc.), you must be a minimum of 18 years old. You also need to put more thought into what type of business you want. Once you have that decided, a business plan needs to be put together to layout how you will enter into the business, where you will get the financing for your expenses, how you will exit if the business does not work out, etc. There are other considerations as well, too numerous to sit here and type out. My advice, focus on your education right now. Complete high school and go to college. If you are set on becoming an entrepreneur, seek out a business degree. Once you have gone that far, then you may be ready to start your own business.

     

    Regards,

     

    Dan

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    chris1985 Apprentice
    Currently Being Moderated

    With a parents help I had a friend in high school that had a small bakery operation, making mini cakes and cupcakes (forgot the name). But she was only 17 and had her parent get the space and help with signing the lease for a booth at a local fair and then at a market every Saturday. She made good money with low startup. So it's possible to do but you would need help at first from an adult. Dervie, maybe you could shadow a few business owners too, to learn more about what they do and if it would be something that interested you. Good luck.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    OfficeGoddess Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    I agree that it is never to young to start a business.  Yes, there will be issues with age and who will take on signing responsibilities, etc.

     

    I highly recommend you go to www.choosewhat.com for a business startup checklist to help you work through the logistics of starting a businesss.

     

    And I also suggest you sit down and make a list of what type(s) of merchandise you would like to sell.  Why a specific product?  Who will it benefit?  Who will be your market?  How will you market TO your target market? Also find books at the library about small business operations and marketing.

     

    There is a tremendous amount of setup/background information required long before actually getting into a business.  I am a virtual bookkeeper so no vendors required and I still spent over six months in the setup phase before "opening my virtual doors."

     

    You will hear a lot of naysayers who tell you that you are too young, too inexperienced, blah-blah-blah.  You have just as good a shot at succeeding as any other entrepreneur if you do your research and setup a foundation first instead of jumping headlong into an unfamiliar situation.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Moderator_JoleK Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Excellent questions , Dervie .I want to welcome you to the community. Is there any particular type of business that gets your attention most?

    You are getting some great feedback in this thread and I think we are all learning something! 

     

    Joleen

    • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
      Dervie Novice
      Currently Being Moderated

      I also agree, these are great answers and I'm noting each and everything down. Any type of business? At this moment in time, no. I'd love to however be a part of a business in which deals with handling customers, etc. I'm one who loves to interact with customers, as well as selling merchandise.

      • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
        CorpCons08 Master
        Currently Being Moderated

        Dervie,

         

        Have you ever worked in a customer service based business? Maybe a good starting point would be to look for employment with a company that deals with customer service, gather ideas from your experiences, and then look into starting a business in the future. I think it's great that you love customers, and a lot of business owners would love to have you be part of their teams. Especially since customer service has gone downhill during the recession.

         

        Regards,

         

        Dan

        • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
          Dervie Novice
          Currently Being Moderated

          Typically, where I live, It's hard to get a job for 2 reasons, especially for me.

           

          1. I have absolutely no empolyment experience, whatsoever.

          2. I'm only 16, they tend to look for people whom are older.

           

          So primarily, my lack of experience and age play a huge part in whether or not I'm able to get a job.

          • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
            CorpCons08 Master
            Currently Being Moderated

            Dervie,

             

            A lot of times businesses don't higher younger applicants, not because of their lack of employment history or age, but because they are not prepared to step into the position they are applying for. Have you taken business courses in school? Do you entertain extra curricular activities like FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), etc.? Businesses are 10x more likely to higher a younger applicant who has a resume with extra curricular activities like the one mentioned or college level business courses.

             

            Regards,

             

            Dan

      • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
        CorpCons08 Master
        Currently Being Moderated

        Let me just add... I am not trying to discourage your dreams, just making sure you enter into it prepared to succeed.

         

        Regards,

         

        Dan

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    OfficeGoddess Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    I, too, would be happy to help you with any questions you may have as you start out.

     

    Lily - aka Virtual Offce Goddess

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Intravec Designs Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I would advise you to find someone in your area that is the managerial side of business and ask them to let you shadow them for a couple of weeks. There are some people that love helping young people start into the business world. This way you can have some idea of what you are getting involved in. It is never to early to go into business entrepreneurship.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    While I see a lot of flip flopping around between contractual obligations Dervie cannot sign into and having the parents shoulder the responsibility of an actual business venture, I am wondering why no one seems to have touched on something specific I saw, including the person who actually said it.

    .

    Corp said to Luckiest: "This individual is 16 years old! They are not looking at starting a lawn care business, or a snow removal service."

     

    I am wondering why he hasn't been encouraged to start a business that a 16 year old COULD actually begin and manage rather than focusing on how he can't legally establish a brick and mortar business.

     

    Dervie said he may not have enough money to lease a storefront but could possibly get flea market space or a kiosk. (Trust me Dervie, mall kiosks aren't cheap either) If he had the money to get himself a good mower and has the means to transport that mower (in most states 16 year olds can drive) he could start a landscaping business. I know this because one of our neighbours started out the exact same way and as they learned from their experiences what worked, what didn't and how best to manage this business, it grew and it took off and they now own one of the premier landscaping SUPPLY businesses in the area. They now hire people to go out and do the actual physical labour of landscaping lawns while they manage the business of obtaining and selling product etc. What started out as a business they ran as teenagers from home with a mower, a trailer and some trimming tools is now a lucrative business on a large piece of land in town with a storefront in their adulthood (and they're now only in their early to mid 20's).

     

    Sure, Dervie may not want to go into landscaping but if his local Mickey D's isn't hiring and he can't or doesn't want to find employment elsewhere for whatever reason (both of my girls worked food service starting at the age of 15) then let's think outside of the proverbial box and encourage him to follow his dream in a manner that fits his age bracket, interests and drive. He said it is his goal to become a "businessman". Goals aren't instantly reached. They require time and effort so whose to say he can't get a jumpstart on obtaining that goal by starting small with a home based business he can handle at his age?

     

     

    After all, some of the leading Fortune 500 businessmen today started out with a paper route, a lemonade stand or a car washing service and that is where it all begins!

     

    One last note, it is awesome to see so many people reaching out to help our next generation of entrepreneurs! Keep up the awesome work! The way you all help out so willingly is what makes this such a great community to be a part of!

     

    Best of luck, Dervie! I hope you find success in the years to come!

     

    ~Moni

    • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
      CorpCons08 Master
      Currently Being Moderated

      Moni,

       

      You misunderstood the point I was trying to make. While I agree that entrepreneurship can begin at any age, I believe that you should start out with something realistic based on your experience and qualifications. Dervie does not have experience dealing with customers or selling products first hand. My suggestion is to utilize a school program like FBLA to work on community service projects where he/she can gain experience dealing with people on a consistent basis. Then, they can put those skills towards a career in customer service or look into starting their own customer service business. You always want to have some kind of a foundation before you begin building a house, and right now, everyone is saying "forget the foundation and start with the roof!"

       

      I myself started out at 14yrs of age with a small .com company. I developed custom software applications for local businesses. Eventually it grew quite a bit, until it was at a level that I no longer could handle on my own. My background was there, I had worked through many certifications and coursework, including shadowing local business owners to learn the trade more. I always knew programming since I was young, and it was a skillset that business owners liked about me and were willing to take me under their wing so to speak.

       

      I'm rambling here, but again, I think that the starting point for this individual is to start learning some trade skills in customer service. This is the start of their dream!

       

      Regards,

       

      Dan

      • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
        Expert
        Currently Being Moderated

        Hi Dan! I wasn't so much commenting on the thoughts and ideas in your response to Luckiest as I was using what you said as an example. I whole-heartedly agree with you about building a good, solid foundation before building the house. But after reading through the entire thread, it dawned on me that the only one that even remotely touched on "age-appropriate" business ideas was you, however, you didn't run in the direction I thought you would with it. It was that concept that I wanted to put out there for others to consider.


        I built my foundation in a "little club" known as Junior Achievement. I LOVED JA! I remember how much fun we had as a group running our businesses, designing & marketing our products and attending trade fairs to show off what we learned and make our mark. Sitting here writing this, it dawned on me that locally, I really haven't heard much about JA anymore. Honestly, I wasn't even sure it was still in existence and had to Google it to see if they were still operating. I am definitely going to do more research into whether or not we have a local JA group because something as educational and fun as that shouldn't be lost over time. I would suggest to Dervie that he look into whether or not there is a group in his area because I believe that would be a good place to start building his foundation!


        I do still think that starting his own home based business could be a great learning experience for him as well - start small, learn how to best market & manage it and grow slowly, noting what works and what doesn't. Trail and error now, when it's less risky, could save costly mistakes later.


        As always, Corp, it has been a pleasure sharing a conversation with you! Happy holidays everyone!


        ~Moni

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Dervie Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I apologize for my abscence. I'm trying to juggle school and my personal life at the moment. However, I am reading ALL the responses, and boy.. let me tell you. I thought I'd receive a ton of negative crticisim, but you guys are just awesome.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Dalip Kumar Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    its not early to start i appreciate your higly passions for your bright future which are you going to design in teenage.If you are really want to start then you should think about in which business you are interested and can learn easily.i am also going to start my leather apparels shop in bangalore but i have my own manufacturing unit and experience if you are interested for partnership then we can go ahead.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    roimarket Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    This article may help.  No matter what you decide to do, seek as much education as possible about the subject.

    _________________________________________________________________________________________

     

    When thinking about starting a business, it is important to understand “Business Models” & “Sales”.  This will help you determine how you are going to build a business but, they “type” of business you want to develop.  Refer to organizations like The Direct Selling Association (DSA.org). The DSA is the national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers. Approximately 200 companies are members of the association, including many well-known brand names. (i.e Avon, Amway, Talk Fusion, ACN, etc.) Search for companies that are members: http://www.dsa.org/forms/CompanyFormPublicMembers/

    There are a lot of , as you say, scams out there, but Multi-level Marketing is not a scam. It could be a way to get your business started with minimal investment.  If the company supplies you with the marketing and advertising materials (which are a huge expense for business), it can narrow down our efforts to just selling. At the end of the day, your ability to make money depends on you.

    Examples of Business models

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_models

    Business model

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      (Redirected from Business models)

     

    In the early history of business models it was very typical to define business model types such as bricks-and-mortar or e-broker. However, these types usually describe only one aspect of the business (most often revenue model). Therefore, more recent literature on business models concentrates on describing business model as a whole instead of one most visible aspect. Following examples provide an overview for various business model types that have been in discussion since the invent of term business model:

      Business model by which a company integrates both offline (bricks) and online (clicks) presences. One example of the bricks-and-clicks model is when a chain of stores allows the user to order products online, but lets them pick up their order at a local store. 

    Business organization or association typically composed of relatively large numbers of businesses, tradespersons or professionals in the same or related fields of endeavor, which pools resources, shares information or provides other benefits for their members.

      The removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: "cutting out the middleman". Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which had some type of intermediate (such as a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet. 

    Direct selling is marketing and selling products to consumers directly, away from a fixed retail location. Sales are typically made through party plan, one to one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements. A text book definition is: "The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs."[24]

      Business model which works by charging the first client a fee for a service, while offering that service free of charge to subsequent clients. 

    Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. For the franchisor, the franchise is an alternative to building 'chain stores' to distribute goods and avoid investment and liability over a chain. The franchisor's success is the success of the franchisees. The franchisee is said to have a greater incentive than a direct employee because he or she has a direct stake in the business.

      Business model that works by offering basic Web services, or a basic downloadable digital product, for free, while charging a premium for advanced or special features.[25] 

    Other examples of business models are:

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Dervie Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Let me add (if it isn't included in the main post) that Merchandise selling is probably a hobby of mine. I actually conduct virtual business online with virtual goods, however, I'd like to partake in selling physical goods, whether it be as e-commerce, or directly.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Dervie Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I have a question. Does anybody have any experience in the business of selling prinited goods? Specfically hooded sweatshirts, crew neck sweatshirts, and all of that jazz? I find it has quite a decent and unsaturated (to a point) down where I live and I'm sure I can easily make back my investment, in terms of equipment, in a short period of time. However, I lack the experience and I'm unsure as to what it's called.

    • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
      simon misiewicz Novice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Dervie

       

      First of all I wish you the very best of luck.

       

      I started a business when I was just 16 and I have no regrets. I found that a good education after I left school was very important to always improve my knowledge and competence. I would suggest that you also find ways to "sharpen the saw".

       

      At the age of 16 it may be difficult to have a store front on your name. Legally you may not be of age to sign some legal contracts. Do not let this stop you. I had my parent sign documents on my behalf and acted a guarantors. I always made sure that I did not put them at financial risk.

       

      Opening a shop may be a very good idea but it depends on what products and services you specilaise in. The sales & marketing video and article may help you make some decisions.

       

      Have a look at this business template

       

      I have given some links to generating and  evauating your ideas. There is also a template that you can use.

       

      Contact me at any time for free mentoring.

       

      Warm regards

      Simon Misiewicz

    • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
      Intravec Designs Novice
      Currently Being Moderated

      Screen printing.. There is also process called digital printing..

      Screen printing is the process that is preferred amongst most clients.

      Digital printing is more cost effective...

      • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
        Dervie Novice
        Currently Being Moderated

        Sound good. I'll give Screen Printing a search. Is it costly to start up?

        • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
          CorpCons08 Master
          Currently Being Moderated

          Dervie,

           

          Make sure you do your homework carefully when entering the printing business. There is a lot of competition, including Fedex Kinkos, Staples, and then online printing companies like VistaPrint, 123 Print, etc. Online printing companies are really giving small printing businesses a run for their money. Their low operating costs are allowing them to price lower than many small printing businesses can afford to do. The end result, the small printing business closes down. The only upside to the small printing business, is quality is usually a lot better because of their dedication to their work. Whereas the online printing companies have so many jobs, they very rarely pay attention to quality.

           

          Regards,

           

          Dan

          • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
            Dervie Novice
            Currently Being Moderated

            I understand, and thanks for your input! I don't plan to go into e-commerce (is that the term?) anytime soon, most likely just local selling.

            • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
              CorpCons08 Master
              Currently Being Moderated

              You're going to want to create an image for yourself...a reason that makes your products stand out from cheaper online competition. That is going to be one of your greatest challenges and one you want to plan for in your Business and Marketing Plans.

               

              Regards,

               

              Dan

            • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
              Intravec Designs Novice
              Currently Being Moderated

              Screen printing is not the cheapest business to get into, but at the same time don't go all out. Get enough equipment to learn how to become better than average, because you will make mistakes at first and you don't want those mistakes to be overly costly.

               

              There is competition out there online, Even though you will be local, you still have to think about how many companies are online with the same business that you are in. A great deal of people shop online and so you have to be aware of the competition even if they are not in your locale. I can assure you of this, a lot of these companies that say they are this "cheap t-shirt printer", they really are not. There are ways to become competitive in that market, but the oblject is to better than the next company and offer competitive prices. Not just lower, but competitive.

               

              I am a graphic designer and I sale business cards and I can promise that I am very competitive and aggressive in my marketing strategies. My family and friends are my guinea pigs and I don't regret the path I have taken. I don't have lower prices, but I have a far superior product at a more than fair price. I have had customers tell me I am to cheap.. I answer with laughter and say, "wait till your next bill!"

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Moderator Jim Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Great responses so far. I hope you've found an answer to your question.

     

    Jim

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    CorpCons08 Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Dervie,

     

    You seem to be bouncing around with a lot of ideas. Have you considered working with a consultant to figure out exactly which path is the one for you? I don't want you to become discouraged with all of the information being thrown at you. I think you have a passion and ambition, and could become a happy business owner, but I think someone guiding you through the process is going to be essential to your success.

     

    Regards,

     

    Dan

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    anthonydavis418 Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    hey Dervie, I congratulate you on taking right decision quite early. I have seen so many people wondering in dark & still do not found any goal. There is bunch of wise advices you get here. I would not add any more. Just come here to say “all the best” & we would like to know the progress at your front. Keep us posted.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Expert
    Currently Being Moderated

    It's nice to see the community continue to pull together and help today's youth! After all, (Yes, I'm about to get cheesy here and quote a Whitney song) the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. It really makes me happy to see so many people care and I'm proud to be a part of this community!

    Happy holidays everyone!

    ~Moni

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Dervie Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    I love all these replies, I'm taking each and every point into mind. My Christmas break is coming up soon, which I will put into great use in terms of researching, thanks!

     

    - Happy holidays everyone.

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Dervie Novice
    Currently Being Moderated

    Wow, I still cannot believe this is still up. I've just read each and every comment over again. Nonetheless, my goal is still set on this.

    • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
      OfficeGoddess Expert
      Currently Being Moderated

      We are all really glad to help.  Have you decided yet what your business will be?  I know you were looking into screen printing as a possiblity.  We did our own t-shirts when I was in high school theater and, once we learned the process, it wasn't especially difficult.  You WILL need to be aware of copyright issues, however.

       

      If I didn't suggest it before, check out www.choosewhat.com to help you set up your business.  And keep us up on how your process is going.

       

      Lily Chambers

      The Virtual Office Goddess, LLC

      Author: How To Do Your Own Small Business Bookkeeping

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Moderator Jim Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Great answers everyone!

     

    Jim

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    John Blue Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hey Dervie, first i wanna say you have courage, if you set your desires goal then nobody will stop you to do what you want, this era is going to be focus on Entrepreneurship. there is many international NGO's and platforms those helping young Entrepreneurs to start up their adventure, and I am damn sure there is no issue about age, well its important but experiences will teach you how to handle all hurdles problems during business starts up. Just focus and concentrate what you want to start and just do it. I remember when we started our business about online printing stores, we just started with few products likes pocket folders printing, stickers printing, carbonless forms and like that. And now we have lot of customer’s portfolio & huge online reputation, it’s just because of our passion and struggle. And you will be rock if you concentrate on your work

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    Moderator Berta Master
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Dervie,

     

    Have you decided yet what business you want to start? We're all here to help any way we can so please update us on your status.

     

    ~Berta

  • Re: Is it "too early" to start a small business?
    NYDS Newbie
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Dervie,

     

    16 is not too early to start a small business. Entrepreneurship is a character trait, some people have but some not. So if in that age you're thinking to open a business, if not today you will have someday, believe me. And I hope will be successful as well.

     

     

    Best,

     

    New York Web Design Studio - tanganika.com

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