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11 Things Entrepreneurs Do that Make Them Wildly Successful At A Young Age

11 Things Entrepreneurs Do that Make Them Wildly Successful At A Young Age

According to a survey by the Kauffman Foundation, the decision to start a business- over choosing other careers- has risen for young adults aged 18-21, from 19% in 2007 to 25% in 2010. No doubt young people around the world are seeing that entrepreneurship can create opportunities for them unlike those offered by any other career path. In the US, for example, The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which tracks early-stage entrepreneurial activity, found that in 2010 almost 5.5% of Americans aged 18-24 were launching early-stage businesses- and a good number of these entrepreneurs are succeeding at a tender age.

Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook at age 20 and started swimming in wealth when he was still in college. Zuckerberg is now one of the wealthiest people in the world, valued at more than $34 billion. Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google when they were both 25. British entrepreneur Carl Churchill started his first Web design business at age 12. Today he’s worth more than $10 million. Juliath Brindak began creating sketches of characters at age 10, and then developed a complementary social-media platform at age 16. Her company, Miss O & Friends is now worth an estimated $15 million.

The list of young and successful entrepreneurs goes on and on. It is awe-inspiring to think about how early these entrepreneurs got their start.

But, what exactly are these entrepreneurs doing right that’s making them succeed while still being so young and inexperienced? What can entrepreneurs at any age learn from them?

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Here are eleven key things that make entrepreneurs wildly successful at a young age:

1. They keep an eye out for opportunities and then capitalise on them.

As a student, George Burgess had trouble finding any useful apps to help him prepare for his A-levels. The fact that there are numerous apps in the market for just about anything you can think of, and that none of them helped students get through their education struck him as an ideal opportunity for investment. He capitalised on this gap and built the app that made him tremendously rich. In a similar fashion, Nick D’Aloisio, at only 17, designed an app that Yahoo paid $30 million for. He credits an eye for spotting market disparities as his catalyst for becoming an entrepreneur. These successful young entrepreneurs are problem solvers. Focusing on needs and finding solutions to problems is what gets them noticed.

2. They use initiative and work really hard.

The only way to build something great is to work really hard and really smart. An entrepreneur needs to spot opportunities and then take it upon himself to step in and fill that need. When James Murray Wells was a college student in Britain, he realized that there wasn’t an online e-retailer for eyeglasses so he took the initiative and quickly filled that need. He earned $4 million his first year. According to Facebook’s Zuckerberg, you should devote yourself to what you are doing as an entrepreneur and if this means missing a few nights out then so be it.

3. They utilise people that can help them grow.

No entrepreneurial venture really succeeds without utilising the right people. Successful entrepreneurs know this. They utilise the power of other successful and well-known people (like the “sharks”) to build credibility. Not connecting with the right people can cost you your success as an entrepreneur.

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4. They minimise the effort spent on operation of the business.

Successful entrepreneurs understand the necessity to grow their business in as many different ways as possible in order to reach more people. This could be really costly and inefficient; but instead of skipping it, successful entrepreneurs make use of tools to help them achieve the purpose. They know that with a wise tool that can facilitate them to manage different selling channels effectively is halfway to success. Tools like Shopify minimises the operation costs of the business by facilitating selling of products and services across different channels, so entrepreneurs can concentrate on the strategies of growing the business.

5. When it comes to taking risks, they just do it.

No ‘analysis paralysis’, here. These successful entrepreneurs just do it. They take risks. From dropping out of college to playing the stock market and venturing into new industries, these entrepreneurs are risk takers. James Murray Wells used his student loans as capital to launch what he called a “recession-proof business.” Michael Dunlop dropped out of high school after his dyslexia had teachers telling him he’d never be successful. He founded IncomeDiary.com, which today earns him a hefty six-figure income. The most successful entrepreneurs are not risk-averse.

6. They work with their hobbies and natural talents.

Mike McDonald, a Canadian with a knack for gambling, started toying with online poker at the age of 15. He was feeling pressured to get a job by his parents, but he didn’t want to do the usual teen gig. So he leveraged his hobby for gambling and natural gift for poker and became a millionaire as a teen. Today he is worth more than $5 million. Joe Penna, better known as Mystery Guitar Man, says, “Every single person I know who is successful at what they do is successful because they love doing it.” You’ve got to find what you love. Successful entrepreneurs do what they love and love what they do.

7. They adapt and continually come up with great new ideas.

Successful entrepreneurs not only take initiative, but also make fast decisions and adjust along the way- quickly! That’s because people tire of commodities fast, and if you don’t create something new and interesting, you will get left behind. Bill Gates- who himself dropped out of Harvard to co-found Microsoft with Paul Allen, and was the youngest billionaire in the world at just 31 years old- revealed the secret to his phenomenal success saying, “In three years, every product my company makes will be obsolete. The only question is whether we will make them obsolete or somebody else will.”

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Constantly adapting, improving, and putting a bit of yourself and your personality into your products is what will keep people begging for more.

8. They innovate and create their own markets.

Successful entrepreneurs go beyond just creating better versions of what is already in the market. They also invest their time and resources into creating something totally new, bringing to life systems that are more efficient and/or more stylish. In doing so, they create their own market and offer people better solutions and experiences. No entrepreneur epitomises this innovative genius better than Steve Jobs. Jobs introduced the stylish, high-end Macintosh computers, which etched their own space in the computer market and continue to dominate that market today. Even Bill Gates acknowledged his tech rival’s genius when he said:

“To create a new standard, it takes something that’s not just a little bit different; it takes something that’s really new and really captures people’s imagination—and the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve ever seen, is the only one that meets that standard.”

9. They improvise and do with whatever is at hand.

Sometimes the products you have need to be modified, or you come into possession of a product that could be fantastic with just a few changes. But, you might not have the resources or material you need to make the product better. Rather than just give up on the project, successful entrepreneurs improvise. Maddie Bradshaw, featured on the TV show Shark Tank along with her younger sister and mom, started by designing locker decorations using soda bottle tops because she couldn’t find anything similar that she liked already on the market. She earned $1.6 million in her first year, and by the time she was 16 she had lured an astonishing three “sharks” to join her as investors and partners.

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10. They stay patient and focused as their business grows.

Good things come to those who wait. Knowing how to let things grow and develop, while focusing on doing a variety of tasks that help the process along, is an important part of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Too many people give up too soon because of impatience. But building successful businesses takes time, even for such gifted people as Steve Jobs. Jobs didn’t really get on the map until the Macintosh was invented eight years after he and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Inc. at 21 and 26 years of age respectively. You need to keep focused and stay patient to succeed as an entrepreneur.

11. They diversify and re-invest their riches.

The most successful entrepreneurs diversify and re-invest their riches. This ensures that they never go broke. Gary Martin, a young Irish entrepreneur began running his own nightclub at the tender age of 15 (the drinking ages in the U.K. are vastly lower than in the U.S.). By the time he was 17, he had moved on to property management. By 18, he was worth $20 million and counting. He understood the importance of re-investing and diversifying your wealth. Unfortunately, not all entrepreneurs understand this fact. Andrew Fashion designed mini rocket launchers and was worth more than $2 million by the time he was 20. He then blew it all on women and gambling by the time he turned 22.

It certainly takes smarts to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Featured photo credit: Detail of handsome hipster modern businessman using smart phone in the city via shutterstock.com

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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