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Basics of starting a new company: Tips for teenagers

By Mansi Jain,

Venturing into a start-up requires a deep understanding of the various facets of business.

Helping teenagers understand the responsibility and meticulous work that goes into setting up a business is good for their long-term development.

According to various estimates, India is now one of the top-most start-up ecosystems across the world. The Economic Survey 2020-2021 reports reveal that till December 2020, our country had 41,061 start-ups. With the start-up scenario improving in our country and job insecurity increasing in almost every sector, it is not a bad idea to equip your youngster with a few entrepreneurial skills required for starting a new business.  

Moreover, helping teenagers understand the responsibility and meticulous work that goes into setting up a business is good for their long-term development. Venturing into a start-up requires a lot of research and a deep understanding of the various facets of business.  Here are five basic steps that can help your youngster start his own company. 

Conducting Market Research The first step towards planning a start-up is to figure out the product or service that your budding entrepreneur wants to sell. The choice should be based on its market demand and the demand-supply gap. This can be identified through market research with focus groups. Market research blends consumer behaviour and economic trends to confirm and improve a business idea. Good research will help outline the following: 

  • Demand: Is there a desire for the product or service? 
  • Market size: How many people would be interested in the offering? 
  • Economic indicators: What is the income range and employment rate? 
  • Location: Where do the customers live and where can the business reach? 
  • Market saturation: How many similar options are already available to consumers? 
  • Pricing: What do potential customers pay for these alternatives? 

Developing the product or service 
Developing a product or service involves a lot of R&D. Once the product or service has been decided on the basis of market research, the following considerations need to be made while creating it. 

  • Availability: One factor to consider while developing a new product is the availability of the ingredients. The last thing we want is to create something that will become popular only to realize it cannot be scaled up. 
  • Price: The cost of the ingredients will impact the price of the finished product. The products need to be affordable and accessible. Having a production cost and the niche in mind will help in better selection of ingredients. 

There are many other factors that must be taken into consideration while coming up with a profitable product or service.  

Company set-up 
When we set up a business, there are quite a few routes in terms of organisational structure that we can take. Your youngster could be the sole owner of the business, enter into a partnership with one person, or set up a company with many shareholders. This requires a thorough research of these structures as well as legal assistance to make sure all the paperwork is in the right order. Motivate your teenager to find resources and read up on the merits and demerits of each type of organisational set-up before making a decision. 

Securing capital 
The first step before looking for investors is to find out how much money the start-up needs. Fnding also depends on the company set-up that the business has opted for. There are some common start-up costs in addition to any other expenses that are unique to the business. These costs could be for anything starting from office space, equipment and supplies to communications, utilities, licenses and permits, insurance, inventory, employee salaries, advertising and marketing, etc. There are many ways to fund a business. They   include the following: 

  • Self-funding, or bootstrapping: In this case, the owner leverages your his or her financial resources to support the business. Family and friends can be the source of self-funding too. 
  • Investment: Investors can give offer funding to start your business in the form of venture capital investments. Venture capital is normally offered in exchange for an ownership share and active role in the company. 
  • Crowdfunding: In this format, funds for business can be raised from a large number of people, called crowd funders. Crowd funders aren’t technically investors, because they don’t receive a share of ownership in the business and don’t expect a financial return on their money. Instead, crowd funders expect to get a “gift” from your company as thanks for their contribution. 

Once the company is set up, your teenager needs to market the product to the public. The key to a successful marketing strategy is the 5 Ps of the marketing mix. This includes the place, price, product, promotion and people. Effective product marketing requires targeting specific audiences and using strategic campaigns to drive demand and sales. The aim is to get the product in front of the people who need it the most. A good way to outline a marketing plan is by keeping the following in mind: 

  • Goal: What is the overall aim of your product marketing? 
  • Audience: Who are we targeting with marketing? 
  • Tools: What tools do we need to execute our product marketing? 
  • Channels: What platforms does our audience engage in? Can we use those channels to market our product? 
  • Content: What messages excite our audience? 
  • Calendar: When will we market our products, and how often? 

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