Do you dream of creating your own business one day, but you aren’t sure where to start? Does the thought of all that investment and risk – both personal and financial – sound intimidating?
There’s good news. You don’t have to go at it alone.
In fact, your first step can be as simple as starting a club for new entrepreneurs. This will let you dip your toes into the process of starting a business without all of the extra risk attached. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are; it is never too early, or too late, to start the process of becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur.
Starting an entrepreneur’s club can consist of a few simple steps (below). Once you gather enough people who are interested in the idea of the club, set a time and place, and build your new enterprise from a few recurring events.
- The Pitch: Set up an event or series of events dedicated solely to brainstorming. Here, you and your fellow clubmates can dedicate yourselves solely to idea generation. Discuss potential problems and look for niche opportunities. Think of needs in your local community, and brainstorm ways to fill it. You can also supplement these events with local entrepreneurs or panels consisting of teachers or successful start up businesses to come and speak at these events. Ask around, invite people! You never know who might spark a million-dollar idea.
- The Plan: Here you can bring in mentors – other start-up businesses, local inventors and investors, anyone who is willing to help discuss logistics with a new entrepreneur. Here is where you can plan the nitty gritty of your business ideas. Discuss costs, location, and product. Learn how other entrepreneurs planned their own ideas. Talk with your families, co-workers, and friends. Business mentors are everywhere.
- The Payment: All new businesses need investment, but it does not have to be a lot to begin with. The easiest way to raise money quickly is crowd funding — e.g., GoFundMe. (You can have a GoFundMe page starting as young as 13 with a parent or guardian’s permission.) Or you can raise money through a bake sale or lemonade stand.
Once you have a pot of money, you need to find a location for an event. If you start an entrepreneur’s club in your local school, consider asking the dean or principal if you can host an event in your school’s auditorium. Present your ideas in front of a crowd, and let the people vote on who is most likely to succeed. The winning team receives the pot of money that you raised to use to eventually launch their business.
Along the way, there are some other steps you can take as well. Create and distribute posters with the permission of your local school or neighborhood. Consider pooling small funds from members of the club – or parents, depending on your age – to buy books on business, economics, and finance. Learn from the best and meet up with clubmates to discuss what you have learned.
And before you know it, you will have your very own entrepreneur’s club – and will have taken a strong first step towards creating your own business.