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4 tips for young entrepreneurs from our SMB community

An experienced business owner mentoring a young entrepreneur.
Sergey Bukrinski Social Media Lead
Published at | Updated:

No business grows in a vacuum. It takes a village composed of loyal customers, friends, family, vendors, and colleagues to make an entrepreneur’s dream come true.

We believe anyone who’s just starting out can benefit from the advice of more experienced business owners. So, we turned to our community of small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners on Instagram to harness their insights for the next generation of young entrepreneurs.

We posed a simple question: What’s the first thing you’d teach a young entrepreneur if you were their mentor? While the answers we got were short, they were always on point. So, we took the liberty of choosing our favorite four tips and giving our take on them.

 

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Tip #1: Failure is part of the process

There’s no straight line to success. Every company that’s doing well has seen both better and worse days. Being a business owner means taking huge risks every day, whether it’s betting on a certain product, a new employee, or a unique strategy.

Not everything you try is going to be successful. You need to learn to embrace these failures as part of your path to business success. Through them, you will get to know your audience better, refine your offerings, and grow your business.

So, don’t be afraid to try something new and fail every once in a while, as long as you’re willing to do both of these things again. And again. After all, that’s what the entrepreneurial spirit is all about.

Tip #2: Know your target market

Let’s state the obvious: no business can succeed without customers. That’s why defining and understanding your target market is such an important part of every business plan.

In this process, you need to figure out who your potential customers are and what they need. To do so, consider where they live or work, what their lifestyle is, whether they have kids or pets, if they travel by car or bus, etc.

What you’re looking to understand are the issues they’re facing in their day-to-day. Then, you can start planning how you intend to solve them and improve your customers’ personal or professional lives through your business.

A well-defined target market will help you create a marketing plan, decide where to set up shop, and figure out what your offering needs to include to bring a smile to your customers’ faces.

Tip #3: Don’t listen to anyone else, only your own intuition

We know this sounds like a weird tip in an article full of advice from other people but it’s actually very accurate.

Starting a business means putting yourself out there and it can make you feel very exposed and vulnerable. Succeeding in business requires tough skin and a lot of confidence in what you’re doing.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t take advice. But, you also need to trust your instincts and not let other people bring you down with good intentions. If you believe in your product and your business, stick to it—you’re halfway to success already.

Tip #4: Money management is key

We know what you’re thinking. Like most entrepreneurs, you’re not really in it for the money. Your business is your passion and it really is what gets you up and out of bed in the morning.

That may be true but even a small business owner’s gotta eat, right? So, let’s talk about money and why the way you handle it matters.

Properly managing your finances means you’ll have enough cash flow to handle the day-to-day as well as unexpected emergencies or opportunities. It makes your business more resilient and ensures your money doesn’t run out just when you need it.

Wondering where to start?

  • Create a financial plan that includes projections of your sales, expenses, cash flow, and budget.
  • Make sure you save at least a little every month, so you always have enough available cash to manage expected and unexpected expenses.
  • Start using an online platform like Melio to manage your accounts payable and receivable (AP and AR):
    • Improve cash flow by using a credit card to pay your business expenses.*
    • Track all your payments, incoming and outgoing, from one place.
    • Schedule payments in advance so you never miss a due date or pay too soon and deplete your cash.

Got your own tips for young entrepreneurs?

Join the conversation on Instagram by leaving a comment. While you’re at it, hit the follow button for more SMB-related insights and fun.

*This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as financial advice.
**Melio does not provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and you should consult with a professional advisor before making any financial decisions.