Though I was only eight years old at the time, the decision to start my first business was the best choice I’ve ever made.
The last seven years have been incredibly amazing (yes, I’m 15) and being an entrepreneur has taught me so many things that quite frankly I wouldn’t have learned in school. It has also created a plethora of opportunities for me. There are a few things I wish I had known when I started my first business, a greeting card and graphic design company, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to share them with you now.
1. Success in Business is Limited by How Much You Think You Can Achieve
The biggest mistake that I made in my first few years of entrepreneurship was setting the bar too low. Instead of focusing on a large customer base, I focused on selling to my island’s small population of only five thousand people. My small goals confined my sales targets and made me operate way below my potential.
Now, my business goals are expanded. I prefer to fall short on a seemingly unrealistic goal than to achieve a mediocre one. By making my goals larger, and focusing on serving a larger geographical space, I have been able to work with clients on four continents!
2. Identify your Brand and Message
I get a lot of publicity because I’m a young person in business, but I try to not use that as an advantage. Truthfully, I can only be a young person in business for a limited amount of time. This knowledge has allowed me to define how customers recognize me and my company. Instead of building my brand around being young, I have built my brand around the power and influence of the natural world. From day one every entrepreneur should ask themselves: Who am I? What makes my product/service different? What is the central message behind my business? Why should anyone else care?
3. People Are Willing to Pay When They See Value
In the first few years of business I was eager to work with any new client. As a result, I would often lower my prices to convince people to work with me. After all, I was a child asking people to write thousand dollar checks. But instead of increasing sales, lowering prices actually decreased confidence in my professionalism and the quality of my work.
At the time, I was not fully conscious of the fact that people buy things to solve problems. Every entrepreneur needs to be aware of this: You are in business to solve problems. Instead of lowering your prices, show your customers how your services and products can solve their specific problems. When you show them the value in your product, they’ll be more willing to pay.
I’ve learned that when business transactions aren’t fulfilled, it is most often because customers don’t see the value in the product. It isn’t because of the price. As an entrepreneur, you first need to ensure that your services and products have value, and then you must work on selling that value to your customers.