It’s Your Business
Every young entrepreneur dreams of being Bill Gates. Unfortunately, your chance of that is about as guaranteed as being a Drew Brees in the NFL or becoming an empire like Oprah Winfrey.
What you can do to keep yourself motivated or to motivate other young entrepreneurs is to first remember that your new business venture is your business and yours alone, and that alone is very motivating. When I first started out in the auto industry, I couldn’t wait to count the cash drawer and add up my first day’s sales. Wow, money, money, money—all mine! I was on my way for sure and no one could stop me.
Boy did I soon realize I had a lot to learn. Owning and running my own business did not mean I didn’t have to answer to anyone or keep track of important things. As brilliant as I thought I was and certain the money would continue to roll in and I would be able to stay ahead of the game, get a business loan, and expand in no time and be a chain, I realized there was lots of stuff I didn’t know.
The important thing I never forgot along the way is that it was my business, one I started—a business I knew something about and something I enjoyed. That alone should be your first motivating factor. The second, there is never a wall you can’t overcome.
Overcoming the Obstacles – Tips for Motivating Young Entrepreneurs
Even in a good economy, owning and running your own business is a tough challenge. You will have slow times and times where you can’t keep track of your own bookkeeping. You will need to hire more employees in good times and layoff employees during slow times. There will be times when you’ll wonder how to pay your overhead expenses to stay open and if you can make your 941 employee tax payment to the IRS.
Don’t fret, however, because here you’ll find the secret to how I did it, even when I thought I’d have to close my doors.
- Working Capital – No matter what anyone tells you, this is the most important thing your business needs. When I talk about motivating young entrepreneurs, this is absolutely the first thing they need to know. Whether you find angel investors, venture capitalists or are able to obtain an SBA loan, make sure you have dollars in your working capital account at all times.
- Reinvent Your Plan Often – Your initial business plan may have been awesome and got you recognized, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to review your ideas and makes changes to your original plans.
- Make Friends With Your Banker – If you have to take your bank president to lunch, dinner or invite him or her to a company picnic, do it and stay in touch through phone calls, emails, and social networking. Your banker is the first person that can help you out when money is tight.
- Get Rid of Negativity – Whether this is from a business wannabe partner or an employee, if you have negativity around you and your business plans, get rid of that negativity. Holding on to it will bring you down too.
- Know How to Do Everything – If you rely on employees to run every aspect of your business and you know nothing above inventory, cost structures, how to pay employees or make a deposit, you’ll soon find yourself out of business. While you may have to hire specialized personnel to perform certain elements of your business, as the business owner, you must know how to step in and take on almost anyone’s role.
- Someone Said No? – So what! Find someone that will say yes and never give up. Ask the person, customer, bank, or company why they said no so the next time you can turn that no into a yes.
- Be a Customer – Every business has customers. Do you know if your customers like your business? Try being a customer and see if you have a good experience. Start by calling your business and see how long it takes for someone to answer the phone and go from there. Visit businesses that are similar to yours and find out what they are doing right or wrong and use those ideas to help you stay motivated to improve.
The Important Stuff
Beyond your business dream, there are other things you’ll need to know, especially when it comes to motivating young entrepreneurs.
- Incorporate – Whether you choose an Subchapter (S) Corp, or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), do incorporate to protect your personal assets from your business liabilities. You don’t have to pay an attorney to incorporate your business either. I have always skipped the legal fees and incorporated on my own.
- Be a Stand Up Person – If you can’t make a vendor payment or know you may have a company check bounce, call the vendor or your new friend, the banker and be honest. If you do this, I guarantee the vendor and the banker will help you. Hiding or not taking calls is never a good idea.
- Get Involved in Your Community – So maybe you don’t like watching little league games, after all, you’re a young entrepreneur! So what, you need to let your community know who you are by either giving to or attending local events. In fact, almost everyone in my small town knows my last name and what I do and it’s because I stay involved.
- If It’s Too Good to Be True – One sure fire way salespeople find in motivating young entrepreneurs is to offer them the moon and the stars; for a price. If you’re offered anything, a line of credit, a new product line, or just about anything that sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not a good idea. Do your research on items offered to you including company background checks.
- When Times Are Slow – I have been tempted many times when times were tough to pay my employees but skip paying 941 employee taxes or state sales taxes. Don’t do this. If you must hold back on something, call your landlord and pay the rent late. Call your vendors and tell them you’ll be late. Don’t ever skip tax payments; the interest, penalties, and fines will break you.
Never Give Up
Probably the last piece of advice I like to offer that helps in motivating young entrepreneurs is to never give up. If you’re idea catches the attention of any one person, you can find interest in other people and places.
If you borrow money from family or friends, pay it back and if you have to be late on a payment, let them know, they’ll most likely understand.
Listen, really listen to your customers. Survey them and offer something free for their participation. Find out what they want and make sure you get it.
Use small business resources that are free. Don’t pay business development firms to help your business grow. Do it on your own by learning everything you can from free sources. Places like the Small Business Administration, SCORE, and local economic development centers are full of knowledgeable people who have been in your shoes. Learn from them, even if they sound like dinosaurs. Sometimes the old way can still be the best way.
If you’re young and starting your own business, look in the mirror each day and say, “If it’s going to be, it must start with me!” Those words are enough when it comes to motivating young entrepreneurs. Rely on yourself, the skills you learn along the way, and most importantly, learn from your mistakes.