I am thrilled that Allbusiness.com is focusing this week’s blogs on young, Gen Y entrepreneurs. I started my own business at 23, but in truth I think I was born an entrepreneur. My earliest memories trace back to being in my family’s deli and catering business. As an entrepreneurship scholar I know that research is compelling in that anyone can be taught to be an entrepreneur, and I believe that to be true. In fact, I’ve dedicated my career to that premise. But I also believe there is some sort of inate gift, or talent that many entrepreneurs have that isn’t found in the general population. As to the debate as to whether entrepreneurs are born or made…I’d say it’s a combination of both. Why would an 8 year old be spending his afternoons and saturdays in a business? There has to be something in the DNA.
My advice to any young entrepreneur reading this would be: Don’t wait until you get older to start a business. Start now. Today. If you feel you have something to give….give it. If you think you’ve identified an opportunity….prove it. The world needs your creativity and talent to manifest. If you are unsure where to start my advice is to identify a niche (i.e. something you can do that others are either unwilling or unable to do) and cultivate it. Start by looking for problems and you are sure to identify an opportunity to resolve it. Napoleon Hill told us over 70 years ago that within every problem lays the seed of opportunity, and truer words have never been spoken.
One of the first lessons I learned in business, perhaps through entrepreneurial osmosis at my father’s knee, is to never consider big businesses a threat. If a big business can do exactly the same thing you can do you have absolutely no chance of surviving. It’s a simple a case of economies of scale. No, if you’re going to survive and thrive you need to differentiate and develop a niche. You shouldn’t worry about competition because, if you are properly positioned and differentiated, you won’t have much competition. In fact, if you’re well positioned as a small business large companies will look to you as a valued product or service provider.
Remember, there are riches in niches. As a gift to all aspiring or current entrepreneurs reading this post, I’m happy to provide an e-book version of my book: Entrepreneurship: Myths, Realities and Rewards. This book retails for $12.95 on Amazon, but it’s my gift to you as one entrepreneur to another.
Just request one via email: email@example.com