My name is Jonathan Baker. I’m a 29 year old millennial entrepreneur. I owned my very first business Heavensent Massage Clinic at the age of 26. After moving forward from Heavensent, I than started my own investment group Kev/Jon Capital Group. We invest in cryptocurrencies, stock market, forex market and other business sectors.
I have had both success and failure as an entrepreneur. I have had plenty of learning experiences on my journey. As a millennial, you are young, in the early stages of your career, and in the position in life where if you fail now, you can recover and start over. This is the best time to get started. Here is some advice that I’ve learned on my journey that they don’t teach you in any college classroom.
Building Start Up Capital
Now many young millennials say, "I want to start my own business but I just don’t have the money or the resources." To tell you the truth, that’s not a reason that’s an excuse. If that’s what you’re thinking than you’ve already lost before you even started.
If you don’t have the money or the resources needed for your startup than you have to learn how to hustle. Get a second job on the weekends and save up money. Buy items and sell them at a markup on eBay. Heck, start a lemonade stand! Just do what you have to do to get the money and resources you need to get started.
This will also help develop the work ethic and mentality needed to be a successful entrepreneur. Now one major piece of advice I give to all millennial entrepreneurs is that under no circumstances should you ever take out a business loan.
For one, there are just too many ways to make money. Second, there are too many uncertainties in starting a business that the one thing you have to be certain of is paying back that loan. Don’t start your journey in debt.
Have A Legit Niche
Everybody has an idea that they think will work and make money, but unless you are creating a brand new market someone has already thought of that idea or that market has already been established. You have to have a legit niche that will separate you from the competition.
An example would be if you want to open up a restaurant that serves burgers and fries. That market has already been established. You have to ask yourself, "Why should people come to my restaurant and eat my burgers over McDonald’s or Wendy’s? What separates you from them but will also be very marketable?" That’s having a legit niche.
When starting your business, you have to have your business plan and strategy in place than you have to be able to execute it flawlessly. Just like in sports when the game is on the line you have to execute your game plan to win. It’s the same in business. If you want your business to be successful and grow, execution is crucial. Set up the proper strategy and infrastructure and execute it.
Know Your Business
You should know your business inside and out; better than anyone else. There shouldn’t be one aspect of your business that you do not know 100%. If your partnering up with someone else and one of you is handling the operations and the other is handling the business side, than you both should be spending as much time as possible learning the other aspects of your business. Know every aspect of your business to the fullest.
Know Your Competition
You should know your competition just as well as you know your own business. You should know every aspect of their operations from their marketing strategy and infrastructure to their execution. You should probably even have your own projections of what you think they will do.
Competition will always be a factor in your business. If your competitor is making a mistake and you know it, capitalize on it and use that to your advantage to make your business even better. Once you get an edge on your competition do everything you can to stay one step ahead of them.
Adjust To Your Market
Whatever business sector your in, big or small, over time your market will likely change to some degree. This is very important when it comes to marketing your business effectively. Understand the current trends and adjust your marketing and business to the changes accordingly.
This is probably the second most important tip I give to millennials. When you are developing your business treat your business like you would your financial portfolio. Don’t overexpose yourself by investing in only one thing. What I mean by that is if your business starts to struggle for a few quarters, what can you do to hedge the situation to keep your business from failing?
Smart entrepreneurs know to mitigate their risk within their business with a plan B. For instance, you opened up a bar and your regular business hours numbers are not going so well. You are losing cash flow which is forcing you to cut your marketing budget. You can counteract this with getting guaranteed contracts to use your bar as a venue for small events. In doing this, your bringing in another source of guaranteed cash flow which will help your business make up for the loss. Always have a plan b to mitigate your risk.
Never Get Comfortable
This is the absolute most important tip for any entrepreneur. Being a business owner is very hard, requires long hours, and is a 24/7 grind. You are taking a big risk in becoming an entrepreneur. 75% of all new and small business fail within 5 years. You have to learn that to have a successful business and you have to work extremely hard.
Once your business becomes successful the work becomes even harder. You can’t get comfortable under any circumstances. As an entrepreneur, every day you wake up you should think, "How can I make my business better today?"
What happens when you get comfortable? You end up like Blockbuster. A multi-billion dollar company whose execs got comfortable let the competition in Netflix and Redbox catch up to them and now they are out of business entirely. The hard work never stops even when you are highly successful. Never let success get you comfortable.
Being an entrepreneur is far from easy it takes a lot of hard work, time, and patience. It’s a journey that many have taken and have failed. Without entrepreneurs business doesn’t exist. I hope these tips from one millennial entrepreneur helps you guys on your journey.
Jonathan Baker is an entrepreneur and business owner. He studied Business Marketing and Finance at University of Texas at Arlington. He is currently Co-Founder and CEO of Kev/Jon Capital Group LLC and Sr Partner of CJ Holdings LLC His blog can be found here.