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How can you manage a start-up business and how can I manage my financial state when I'm just about to start my business. Is it advisable to start big or start small?

I am in grade 12 currently and want to start-up a small business for myself for making extra cash

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Gloria’s Answer

Hello Peter, I successfully ran a small enterprise for nearly a decade, and I did it on a part-time basis. I want to assure you that it's entirely possible to manage a business while pursuing your college education. Regardless of how big or small your dream business is, always begin with a solid business plan. Once you've kickstarted your venture, don't hesitate to connect with your local chamber of commerce and other networking groups in your area. This will help spread the word about your business. You'll be pleasantly surprised to discover the wealth of support available in your community, all ready to contribute to your business's growth. Best of luck!
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Peter !

Congratulations on being so close to graduating high school ! That is a wonderful achievement and I see that you have given thought to your next step. I am thinking that your best bet with what you are asking would be to enroll in college and major in Business Management. That is one way all of your questions would be answered as well as provide you with the ability to start a business. You should learn management and business skills before you start a business because it will seem perplexing if you attempt to do something that you've never done before.

You haven't mentioned if the business you want to start is for a product or a service and that could make a difference with details on how to go about it. Opening a business is a very broad description and all businesses are not alike. You can do some research before you begin about the product or service, look at similar businesses and learn the demographics that you'd be working with.

Now, if it is a product or an item that you want to sell, you can easily sell through E-Bay but definitely read their rules and terms of service. If it is a service that you plan to start, you will have to invest in advertising as well as have some business cards made up. You can even invest in having a website built. It would all be up to what type of business you want to start.

When people want to start a business and they do not know how, it's best to begin small. I urge you to look into community college for a two year program in Business at which you can take management and advertising courses. That would help a great deal. You'll need the in-person experience to get the full advantage for this. There are online courses but you will need and greatly benefit from in person feedback and group discussions in classes about business, plus any projects that you might be able to get experience with. It would also give you the chance to meet like minded people and make contacts and connections that could benefit your business.

I just wanted you to have something to think about but the choice is up to you. With the education and familiarity of business you will do well. It won't all come together overnight, but the journey will make it possible !
Thank you comment icon I am really grateful you took the time to answer this question. Peter
Thank you comment icon You're very welcome, Peter ! Have an awesome day ! Michelle M.
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Jonathan’s Answer

Michelle and Nina have given you some wonderful advice and I won't add my version of what they've already shared; instead I would ask you to consider a different issue. Starting a business at any stage in life is an all consuming undertaking if you want to succeed. Ask yourself whether you want to create some cashflow to get over a hump or anticipated expense, or if you want to create a business. Those are two completely different things. You can get a summer job or two and generate some income easily enough. Work some long hours, go home at the end of the day, enjoy your hobbies, spend time with friends, have your weekends to yourself. If you start a business you can say goodbye to any personal time for the foreseable future. There won't be enough time in each day to take care of everything that will come up; acquiring customers, keeping them happy (very hard), covering start up business costs for a myriad of expenses you didn't even know would be necessary; keeping an eye on the competition; cybersecurity issues if required; dealing with customers who don't want to pay you; telling your friends over and over why you can't hang out like you used to; you get the idea-it can start out sounding like a good idea but become overwhelming very quickly. And we haven't even come to making money which is a whole other issue!

So I ask you-do you want to generate some side income, or do you want to start a business? Think carefully.
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Nina’s Answer

Hello Peter,
I agree that Michelle gave you very good advice. I started my own business at 27 (owned for 5 years) and had NO idea what it entailed. I had a few years of business experience but that didn't at ALL prepare me to run my own business. Along with Michelle's advise, I would encourage you to find a program (community college or university) that focuses on entrepreneurship training. I live in Arizona and know Arizona State University (ASU) has a strong program.
I also helped other people start their own businesses through the chamber of commerce. This might also be a way to network with other business owners. I would tell people that if you 1) Want to make more money 2) Want more free time . . . those are exactly the opposite when you own your own business. Instead of having one boss, you hopefully have many (clients) bosses that all think you only work for them.
You want to look for something that you are "extremely" talented at and enjoy doing because owning your own business is HARD (as my business partner would say "if it was easy, everyone else would be doing it"), so if you're going to spend your time, it better be something you enjoy.
If you have an idea of what you'd like to do (or if you don't), ask people who own the business you're interested in. You'd be surprised at how willing people are to help people starting out. Everyone pitched in to help them and so most want to give back their knowledge.
Wish you all the best and so happy to see motivated young people looking to become entrepreneurs!
Nina

Nina recommends the following next steps:

Check out college programs that focus on entrepreneurship
Contact your local chamber of commerce and inquire about a "student" membership and free events, so you can meet other business owners
Research what you think you're good at and then contact people who own the type of business for advice
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bronte’s Answer

I'd like to offer a very tactical tip on financial management. Often when embarking on these types of ventures income can fluctuate from month-to-month so it is useful to try and create some form of stability in terms of 'income'. One way that can be useful is to establish the lean budget (minimum expenses each month). When you receive income, deposit the full amount into an account but only draw down to your 'regular account' each month the $$$ required to meet minimum expenses. Then as your income fluctuates can still draw a 'wage' which hopefully meets your minimum expenses. It can be easy to be tempted to spend more than needed if you have a 'good' month but then be left short on future months with lower income.
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Michaela’s Answer

Managing a startup business, especially while you're still in grade 12, requires careful planning, organization, and financial management. Remember starting a business requires sacrifice and isn't for everyone. However, with persistence and integrity, you can do anything you put your mind to. Here are some tips to help you manage your startup business effectively and handle your financial state:

Create a Business Plan: Start by developing a comprehensive business plan that outlines your business goals, target market, products or services, marketing strategy, operational plan, and financial projections. A well-thought-out business plan will serve as a roadmap for your business and help you stay focused on your objectives.

Set a Budget: Determine how much money you can afford to invest in your business and create a budget that allocates funds to different aspects of your startup, such as equipment, inventory, marketing, and overhead expenses. Be realistic about your financial resources and prioritize essential expenditures.

Bootstrap Your Business: Consider starting your business with minimal investment by bootstrapping—using your own funds and resources to get started. This may involve starting small, using existing equipment or materials, and finding cost-effective ways to launch your business without taking on significant financial risk.

Manage Cash Flow: Cash flow management is crucial for the success of any startup. Keep track of your income and expenses, monitor your cash flow regularly, and plan for any upcoming expenses or financial obligations. Consider implementing strategies to improve cash flow, such as offering discounts for early payments or negotiating favorable terms with suppliers.

Seek Funding Wisely: If you need additional funding to start or grow your business, explore different funding options available to you, such as personal savings, loans, grants, crowdfunding, or investment from friends and family. Evaluate the pros and cons of each option and choose the one that best fits your financial situation and goals.

Start Small, Scale Up: When starting a small business, it's often advisable to start small and gradually scale up as you gain experience, establish a customer base, and generate revenue. Starting small allows you to test your business idea, minimize financial risk, and learn from any challenges or setbacks along the way.

Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor your business performance, track key metrics, and assess whether your strategies are yielding the desired results. Be prepared to adjust your business plan, marketing tactics, or operational processes based on feedback from customers and changes in the market.

Seek Guidance and Mentorship: Don't hesitate to seek guidance and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, business professionals, or mentors in your community. They can provide valuable advice, insights, and support to help you navigate the challenges of starting and managing a business.
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