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What steps should I take to become a small business owner?

I am an 11th grader and I am passionate about being a small business owner. I've always dreamt of opening up a tea house and want to know what steps I should take to get there. I have no idea where to start and would really appreciate guidance.

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Kristan’s Answer


I love being a small business owner and I love helping other small businesses grow. So, for starters I would suggest you write down what aspects of owning your own business appeal to you as well as your strengths. Once you have gathered this information then it will be easier for you to research similar businesses and develop your business model. Additionally, I would recommend exploring your desired field-a tea shop with informational interviews and even consider gaining on the job experience by working at a tea shop. Entrepreneurship is a wonderful journey with many opportunities along the way. Be open to considering alternative ways to connecting with your dream too; for example, I studied fine art in college and several years after graduation found myself designing outdoor and indoor spaces, a great way to express my creativity and to generate consistent income.

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Anthony’s Answer

Hi Sabrina!

Congratulations on almost finishing high school and having a clear goal to work towards. That's half the battle. Now that you know you want to open a Tea House, I would start by researching successful tea shops near you. Observe how their customers move throughout and try to gain some insight on what keeps them coming back. Next, it might be a good idea to consider what would set your tea house apart from others, what would make someone choose your shop over the competition. Whenever thinking about starting a small business, the central concern is VALUE. All businesses are successful in so far as they can deliver value to their customers. In your case that means, the taste and price of the tea, but also the environment of your shop. Try to recognize what service you are really providing beyond just tea. I don't personally know much about tea, but I do think answering these questions is a good starting point. Again, I love to read young people wanting to start their own businesses. Don't give up, it will be hard, but the rewards are boundless.

Best regards,


Thank you so much for your positive input. I really appreciated reading your comment. Sabrina R.

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Jo-Ann’s Answer

Hi Sabrina,

Thank you for your inquiry. Becoming a small business owner takes a lot of time, work hours, and patience. Most businesses fail in the first five years of operation for a variety of reasons so it's crucial to do your homework.

It seems you have a passion for tea. Believing in your product/service is a must. I would suggest to start with market research and a solid business plan. What retail location are you seeking? Are there other tea shops close by? Who is your target audience? This is a sample of some of the questions you may want to find out.

There are also hundreds of "how-to" examples of how to write a business plan on the internet. You'll also need to seek a business loan, if you don't have enough start-up cash. Banks won't provide funding without a thorough financial analysis of your business opportunity.

I hope I've helped you to get started. Best of luck with your dream!

Those are great questions to think about. Thank you so much for giving me a place to start (: Sabrina R.

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Marcel’s Answer

Before launching a business, make sure there is a market for your idea. Ask yourself a few key questions, including what problem is your business will be solving? Who will be your customers? Who would be your main competitors, and how you will be different. Do some research take notes those answers will help you develop an action plan.