Not for the faint-hearted, entrepreneurship is all about identifying opportunities, creating choices and building something from the ground up. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world capitalise on opportunities in emerging markets to grow their businesses into globally recognised brands: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few. The one thing they all have in common? They all started young. Of course, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ template to run a successful business. But here are six compelling reasons why you should consider starting up when young:
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Nothing to lose
In your early or mid-20s, the risk involved is considerably minimal compared to starting up a business later in life, at an age when you will probably be used to the perks of a steady pay check and other comforts your career offered.
Everything to gain
Starting young gives you some leeway to make mistakes and to grow from them at a comfortable pace. It takes a couple of tries and iterations before you hit upon a successful formula for your business. Therefore, it pays to start young, solve problems and gain more entrepreneurial experience under your belt.
Go in with guns blazing
Running a startup is a high-energy venture that will require equal parts of energy and motivation to stay afloat. The early start and low risk make it easy for you to swing for the fences and perfect your product for the market through trial and error.
Making change happen
For those who start young, businesses are not driven so much by instant name and fame just around the corner as they are by a desire to trigger a change in the way things are done. You know what your generation needs and you know how to deliver. Pure passion should drive you to put in the long hours and burn the midnight oil for the change you want to see.
Leverage on your past
With some experience from before, even if you start in your late 20s or early 30s, the network you’ve built while working for organisations and the essential entrepreneurial basics you’ve picked up while working on your career will serve you in good stead. You will also be better equipped to deal with the everyday challenges of running a business with your in-depth industry knowledge and a keen eye to work on sectors that can be better serviced by your business.
Failure as stepping stones
Young businessmen/women usually open multiple ventures, each based on the lessons learnt from the previous entrepreneurial projects. Starting young allows you to make up for past business mistakes and implement new learnings in the next venture. Nobody likes to fail, but these failures are the building blocks to your future success.
So, does the mere fact of starting young give you an advantage? Not necessarily. Success lies in understanding the terrain you’re entering and analysing if you’re prepared to deal with the challenges that lie ahead. For example, if you’re working in an industry that is yet to see its moment under the sun, then take advantage of the early years and try to get a foothold in an emerging market. If you’re trying to initiate change in an established market, try to carve a niche for yourself after you’ve gained the requisite amount of experience and industry knowledge. There is no ‘right time’ as such; what matters more is your ability take stock of the industry you wish to enter and the skills, tools and resources you will need to pull through the ups and downs of business.