Young entrepreneur standing in an open concept office.
From finding a mentor to keeping costs low, there are several things budding entrepreneurs can do to improve their chances of success. — Getty Images/FilippoBacci

A recent survey found that 60% of teens are interested in starting their own ventures, rather than joining an established company. Young entrepreneurs have been creating successful businesses for generations — Instagram, Pinterest, Bumble and Facebook were all founded by entrepreneurs in their 20s.

Not every company is successful, no matter the age of the person launching the venture. Young entrepreneurs may even face extra challenges, such as lack of experience or funding. Nevertheless, here are a few things young entrepreneurs can do to help improve their chances of success.

[Read more: 4 Secrets to Business Success At Any Age]

Get a mentor

Studies have shown that, even for entrepreneurs with experience of their own, mentors predict a greater chance of success. More than 30% of founders who are mentored went on to become top performers—compared to just 10% of founders who did not receive mentorship. Likewise, startups that grow into profitable ventures are more likely to be led by entrepreneurs who have received guidance from a more experienced mentor.

Mentors provide guidance, connections to investors and potential partners, and a source of accountability. For young entrepreneurs making their way, this coaching can be invaluable.

[Read more: How to Find a Business Mentor: 6 Places Entrepreneurs Can Look]

Learn business basics

You may be passionate about a particular product or industry, but passion can only take you so far. Running a business isn’t all that intuitive — understanding the basics of managing finances, operations, and marketing can help you get a more realistic picture of the resources and personnel you need. There are plenty of resources online to help you learn about accounting, taxes, hiring, and marketing. By paying attention to these areas of expertise, you can create a stronger foundation for your startup to grow.

Make a plan

A roadmap can help you prioritize your days, weeks, and months, and it doesn’t need to be formal or rigid to help you stay on track. Start by writing your big goal: make that first sale, recruit an investor, or get acquired by a big enterprise. Then, work backward. What are the things you need to do to make that happen? Things may change along the way, but only by gaining a thorough understanding of where you’re headed can you make better decisions.

It takes a village to build a business. When you are ready to test your idea, talk to as many people as possible to get feedback and support.

Get ready to network

It takes a village to build a business. When you are ready to test your idea, talk to as many people as possible to get feedback and support. Make connections at professional networking events, but also by talking to friends, family, local business owners, educators, and potential mentors. You never know who may turn out to be your business partner, first supplier — or first customer.

Keep your costs low

When you’re just starting out, a key challenge will be budgeting for your business. Look for free trials, free tools, and other strategies to keep your initial investment low. Google My Business offers plenty of free online tools to help attract customers. Try Docracy, an open-source collection of contracts and other legal documents, a free resource provided by social communities. And take advantage of the free SCORE events and workshops in your area to gain professional expertise.

Focus on problem-solving

The best business ideas usually result from solving a customer’s problem. Uber was established to solve the problem of expensive taxis. Spanx was created to solve the problem of visible undies. Blue Apron was founded to help Americans learn how to cook. If you notice a problem that’s popping up in your day-to-day life, chances are someone else may be having that same conundrum. What can you build to solve the issue at scale?

Celebrate small wins

Creating a successful business doesn’t happen overnight. On average, it takes businesses two to three years to become profitable. Prepare to put a lot of hard work and time into taking your idea from concept to company. And make sure you celebrate your progress as you go. Build momentum by breaking your big goal into smaller steps, and taking a moment to note each accomplishment as you reach your final outcome.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published July 26, 2022