In the UK, we have almost become accustomed to hearing about unemployment rates and a flatlining economy. As the youth of today are the business leaders of tomorrow, young entrepreneur Andrew Pallett shares his start-up tips with TheEmployable to assist those thinking about starting in business…
There are few things more exciting and rewarding than starting your own business. Since launching Urban Alpha, we have learnt many lessons in a relatively short amount of time, which have all contributed to our growing success.
1. Learn as much as possible
We learnt our first few lessons before our site had even gone live. As a young entrepreneur, I had relatively little experience in business and in online retail – but what I did have was a vision. A key element of being an entrepreneur is determination, so I set about absorbing as much information about e-commerce and men’s fashion as I could – reading books, magazines, blogs, journals – anything I could get my hands on. Although I’ve had to cut down on the amount I read, it’s a habit I would suggest everyone gets into.
2. Find a mentor
In order to bridge the experience gap, finding a mentor will help you in the early days more than you could possibly imagine. One of the most invaluable aspects of a mentor is their contacts – if they have been in the same industry as the one you are entering, they may be able to open doors and point you in the right direction. You shouldn’t rely on them for every decision you make, as it’s your business after all, however having a business veteran at the end of the phone who you can bounce questions off will give you a lot of confidence and may help stop you procrastinating on some of the bigger decisions!
There will come a time when you feel you’ve done enough research and planning and feel you could be ready to launch your business, but a tiny part of your brain starts thinking things like “what do I do when…” or “but what if this happens…” – and this is totally natural. You have to have confidence in your idea if your business is going to succeed, so you need to have faith in your research and your plans!
Touching back on the first point, learning doesn’t stop when your business starts trading. You may even find that you learn just as much (if not more) by simply being in business and having to overcome hurdles that you hadn’t thought of.
4. Celebrate the good, don’t dwell on the bad
It goes without saying that you’ll have to be committed and passionate for your business idea to succeed, which will mean early mornings, late nights and having to turn down invitations if work needs to be done – but that doesn’t mean you have to become a complete recluse! It’s extremely important to celebrate the good days and big achievements with your friends, family and you team – as this will not only cement the important relationships you have, but will also act as inspiration for the tougher days that you are guaranteed to face. It’s not all doom and gloom – but you have to be realistic: a lot of new businesses fail. What defines your business won’t be how much money it makes, but how successfully it handles difficult situations.
5. Use your youth
Aside from the occasional knock-back, I’ve found overall that being a young entrepreneur has proven to be an asset and not a liability. Amongst other things, it’s helped me to negotiate better deals and to get through to the right people a lot faster – saving me valuable time and money. One thing I am conscious of is overly relying on my age, as sooner or later I’ll be the wrong side of 25 and my age will have significantly less impact! Going back to the previous points, it’s important to back up the energy and positivity of youth with professionalism and a serious business brain – but always play to your strengths, as business is more often about investing in the person and not the product!
Andrew Pallett is the Founder of Urban Alpha, an online designer men’s clothing retailer that started life selling men’s underwear.
We wish Andrew all the best for the future with his business and thank him for his insightful post!!
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