Heading up any organization is a thrilling privilege, especially when it’s your own. Young entrepreneurs today have a wealth of opportunity at their fingertips, and with practices like remote networking, borderless resourcing and even crowdsourcing, creating a business and achieving success in the marketplace is a real-world possibility. So what's the best way to build a great business as a young person? Here are my tips.
1.) Surround yourself with experts
As a leader, you should never settle for “just anyone.” When it comes to building your leadership team (and your greater business), seek out passionate and forward-thinking people who are experts and leaders in their field.
Learn as much as you can from them and gain their input and advice on every big decision you make – from product to strategy to operations to finance, and so on. In the long run, these people will help shape your company culture and direction and they’ll turn you into a stronger leader.
2.) Stay on top of tech
Technology is becoming the driving force in a growing number of new industries and is rapidly taking over existing industries. As a leader, it’s imperative that you (and your team) keep up with tech trends and stay on the frontline of new developments – anything that crops up that can make your product better or deliver further innovation should not be ignored.
In Australia, for instance, this is particularly critical in the retail sector. Retailers, writes John Riccio from professional services firm PwC, “need to innovate if they are to remain relevant to the connected consumer.”
As a result, many retailers are being pushed by consumers to offer more accessibility and better services via various technological means, and the ones who don’t are likely to fall quickly behind - and many already have.
3.) Only take calculated risks
Hamdi Ulukaya, who founded Chobani and won Ernst & Young’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award last year said, “If you’re afraid of losing money, you will not make it to success.”
This is true for every start-up, but young leaders need to recognize that risk doesn’t mean just making a wild decision and then going for it.
Every risk you take, even the smallest one, must be thoroughly calculated. If you don’t calculate, your business will eventually fail. Projections (particularly financial), strategy options and risk management plans must be in place before the first step is actioned.
4.) Know when to delegate and when not to delegate
There’s a big difference between having to do everything yourself and wanting to do it yourself for the sake of learning.
While there will be plenty of things you can delegate early on, taking on business tasks and learning the ropes (just like an employee) will give you a much more thorough and in-depth understand of how your business runs and operates.
In turn, this will provide you with insight into how you can improve your approaches and procedures and will ultimately make your management, operations and leadership better.
5.) Keep innovating and evolving your product - even if you think it’s perfect, there will always be better
Many start-ups have a fantastic product/service when they first come to market. But once your product is out there, it’s important that you continue to improve, expand and develop what you’ve created. This is how you remain competitive.
This type of evolution is essential if you want your start-up to be successful in five, 10 or 20 years.
Consider how Richard Branson’s Virgin has moved from being a simple airline to an organization offering “astronaut” flights into outer space via Virgin Galactic - Innovation!
It might seem like an extreme way to “dream big”, but Branson realized there was much potential in the air/space travel arena and his ability to innovate at this level means that Virgin will continue to grow and innovate well into the future.