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Going into business in your 20s: 8 tips for staying on track

Posted on Tuesday May 01, 2018

Going into business in your 20s: 8 tips for staying on track

"It takes guts to start your own business." Here's a truism that's even truer in your 20s. Positioning yourself as an expert, staying relevant to your customers, showing your savvy when the whole world can see you're an inexperienced newbie ? it's a challenge. But if you've got drive, a passion for your product or service and an unshakeable can-do attitude, then most of your bases are covered. Anyway, at your age you've got energy, nerve and imagination to burn! Below, some sage advice to help you come out on top.

The right reflexes

Let's start by busting a myth. When it comes to business, age doesn't count. What does count is how you put yourself forward ? how you develop the qualities that compensate for your limitations. Some words of wisdom from those who've made it:

  1. Get informed. Sites like Futurpreneur Canada (a non-profit organizations that helps entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39 find the funding, tools and mentoring that will put them on the road to success) and the French-only J'entreprends.ca (a targeted portal for young entrepreneurs at any stage of the game, offering solid advice and tons of resources) are absolute gold mines. On the menu: discussions, networking and super-relevant info.

  2. Be ready to adapt. Because the business world is all about surprises when you least expect them. Staying flexible can mean many things: having to put aside a task to deal with a major problem, accepting that things don't always go according to plan, finding solutions to situations you'd never imagined, responding to unforeseen challenges without losing your cool . . .

  3. Surround yourself with smart people. Basically, you can't do it all and you need to recognize your limits. Surrounding yourself with talented people whose strengths complement your own lets you turbocharge your business development ? and avoid losing precious time and energy on areas you know aren't your forte. A good accountant, tax specialist, financial advisor: these are some of the professionals who can support and strengthen your dealings, particularly in the administrative nitty gritty.

  4. Find a mentor. You're surely not the first to take the plunge. A mentor puts a mine of contacts at your fingertips and offers invaluable ?been there? tips that will help you blow through any obstacles. Bottom line: mentors are like compasses, helping guide you when you're not sure where to go next.

  5. What do all successful entrepreneurs have in common? You got it: determination and perseverance. Your business takes shape over time, not overnight. This means working hard, ready to start over or try a whole new tack. Sometimes it means dealing with ?meh? results that in no way reflect your efforts. Believe in your project and above all, be patient!

  6. Take care of number one. Sometimes your workload will be such that you'll be tempted to skimp on sleep, exercise or quality time with loved ones. Do yourself a favour: schedule some regular R&R. If you want your business to thrive and the buzz to stay alive, then you need to include time out to recharge your batteries.
  7. Test your ideas. You won't have them stolen. Instead, you'll make smart decisions, minimize pitfalls and errors and refine your offer to maximize its attractiveness to potential customers. Time spent preparing is time saved ? and you'll sleep better knowing you have something solid to offer. Market research is easier than ever these days, particularly thanks to social media, online survey tools and mass e-mail. Make technology work for you!

  8. Get off on the right financial foot.Having access to the funds needed to breathe life into your project and meet your obligations is a huge asset. As well as personal savings and donations from people who believe in your project, you can access a whole range of business development funds. For example, the provincial government and its federal counterpart offer different financial assistance programs to entrepreneurs of every type and at every stage of business development. A low-interest loan or a grant can literally give you wings.

UNI is beside you every step of the way. We're your partner of choice for getting off to a good start. To structure your business, make the right financial choices and streamline your operations, your caisse can offer a host of advantageous, adapted products and services. Contact the UNI branch nearest you ? and get going!

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