Ron asked, "Where can I find a business partner? I'm 15 and excited about starting an internet company. Is partnering the best way? How do I take action on my idea?"
Great questions Ron! Wanting to partner shows you are serious about making it happen. I love that you are asking how to take action!!! Great attitude. I've organized my response with headings that mostly match your questions.
Find a Business Partner
- Partners are good for holding yourself accountable to a decision to make progress at anything. Here is a link to a website where you can find partners in your age group: http://young-entrepreneur.meetup.com/.
Is Partnering Best?
Single partnership business definitely have drawbacks.
- Mainly, you will be held accountable for mistakes your partner makes.
- Additionally, you lose the last say so if you set up your business as an even partnership.
- Giving up the last say can become a real problem. Especially if your partner isn't truly collaborative by nature. A 50/50 split on ownership is a tough relationship to keep up (e.g. marriage).
You are far better off maintaining the majority of influence over your business. If you go with the "partnership", get two or three partners and go for a 60/20/20 split or something like that.
Instead of a single partner, you might consider a business "mastermind group" or "networking group". You can get the same benefits of a partnership by joining and attending a "Teen Business Mastermind Group". If you can't find one, start one. This in itself can become profitable and/or lead you to success in many ways.
Start a business mastermind group (entrepreneurs group).
- Put up sign up sheets on every bulletin board in town.
- Have a friend or relative interview you about your business and why you are starting a "Teen Business Mastermind Group". Then, ask your local papers to publish the interview as an article or include comments on it in their editorial.
- Place an ad for people to sign up in the classified section of your paper.
- Have the local Boy and Girl Scout troops announce it at their meetings.
- Ask local churches to include it in the back of their pamphlets and announce it after their sermon.
- Ask your high school front office if they will let you hold club meetings on school grounds after school hours.
- Ask the school to send home flyers announcing you're "Young Entrepreneurs Group Meetings". You don't have to call it a mastermind group for it to work like one.
If you start your own mastermind/network group, be sure to organize it so you only get serious and dedicated members. Make any new person's first visit free. Then charge $20 to $50 for annual memberships after that. You could have a deal where they get a free one year membership if they bring two new paying members to the group. You deserve to get paid if you are the one pulling it together.
Quickly turn your business idea into action.
- Start by talking and listening to everyone about your business ideas. Talk with people (young and old). Ask them what their problems are. If you can find a trend in the problems people around you face, you can then find the need behind that trend and meet that need in a way that makes their lives better (for a reasonable fee).
- Business success is simply a matter of identifying an unmet need that has enough sustainable demand to justify the cost and profit required for you to satisfy it.
- Find this need by talking with everyone. Talk with people in your classes, lunchroom, library, sports teams/stands, church, coffee shops, book stores, and social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and every other social media the people around you use).
- As you go through this socialization process, define the need and make/refine a plan of action for meeting it.
- Get feed back from friends, teachers, neighbors, store owners and others to help you make that plan truly actionable.
- Don't be afraid someone will steal your idea. They won't. Ideas alone are worth less than used gum. The true value is in implementing a plan that makes the idea a reality. Being afraid your idea will get stolen is the biggest cop-out ever. Don't fall into the trap of failing to act on your ideas because "someone might take them".
I'll stop there, but you can get more free coaching from me at http://www.managetogrow.com. You may want to check out our free guides on starting internet business and planning.
Email me in a few months and let me know how your business is working out. BTW, be sure to confirm your parents are OK with you starting a business and doing all the networking required. As your legal guardian's they are still somewhat accountable for your actions. And they may end up being your best partners.
If you are reading this and have any other words of wisdom for Ron, please put your thoughts in the comments section. We can all benefit from your experience.