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What it Takes to Become a Successful Young Business Owner

by Susie Brown on January 23, 2013

Do you have what it takes to become a young entrepreneur? If you find yourself bursting with ideas and brimming with ambition, it may be time to leave the ranks of the job-seeking student and capitalize on your brainstorm by turning it into a self-owned business.

Becoming a successful young business owner, however, takes more than just drive and a good idea. The road to financial success is paved with challenges, requiring a unique set of characteristics and skills which set you apart from the pack and allow you to build an enterprise. If you’re thinking of taking the leap from prospective employee to the man/woman in charge, here are some of the financial survival skills you’ll need to turn your vision into a reality.

Business Basics: The Heart of Your Enterprise

  • In the words of IBM founder Thomas J. Watson: “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” Find a problem you feel passionately about solving and develop your business model around that solution.
  • Choose a single direction: Pursuing several ideas or directions has led to the downfall of many aspiring entrepreneurs; choose a single direction and follow it with a laser-like focus. The smaller your niche, the more easily you’ll be able to reach your target market.
  • Never underestimate the value of a good mentor: Ask almost any successful entrepreneur or business mogul and you’ll find that they attribute part of their success to their mentors. An experienced advisor is invaluable to up-and-coming companies, offering a solid base of knowledge and real-life experiences which can save new businesses years of costly mistakes and business errors.
  • Network, Network, Network: Successful young entrepreneurs take advantage of every opportunity to build and expand upon their personal and professional networks, giving them access to key people and players to bring in more business.
  • Study your competitors: Study the leaders in your field, paying close attention to every aspect of their business and how they provide their product or service. Call them ask questions and learn from their success.
  • Peer Support: One of the best sources of new business advice and support are fellow entrepreneurs, especially those who have already achieved the type of success you aspire to.
  • Name your company: What’s in a name? In the business world: A lot! To choose a company name, decide if you’re appealing to consumers or targeting other businesses. Come up with a tagline or catchphrase which captures the essence of your company and which markets your business; establish a brand message, company colors, and a fitting logo.

Goal Setting

  • Business goals (short-term and long-term) should be highly specific, relevant, achievable, and measurable.
  • Establish daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks: With your eye on the future, set daily/weekly goals to reach your mark.
  • To-Do lists: Daily to-do lists (in order of priority) are second nature to successful young business owners.
  • Tracking: Use modern business software to track your time, performance, customers, staff, and revenue to learn what’s working and what’s not.

Attributes of a Successful Young Entrepreneur

Every successful young entrepreneur possesses a set of interpersonal skills and character traits which allow them to grow and prosper. See how many of the following attributes you possess:

  • Ambitious
  • Independent
  • Hard-Working
  • Creative with a Vision
  • Adaptive
  • Resilient
  • Responsible
  • Persistent
  • Determined
  • Self-Confident
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Organized

Finally, remember this age-old wisdom regarding leadership and honesty: “Leadership is doing what is right when no one is watching.”



This post was contributed by Susie Brown.

Susie Brown is a FastUpFront Blog contributor and business author. Fastupfront offers working capital and merchants business loans for established businesses. Visit


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