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Monday, August 4, 2008

6 steps to being your own boss

Young entrepreneurs have to work hard to overcome inexperience and gain credibility.
These tips increase your odds of success when starting out and starting up.

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine

Got that entrepreneurial spirit?

You aren't alone. In fact, two out of three teenagers who completed a recent Junior Achievement "Interprise" Poll on Teens and Entrepreneurship said they hope to start their own business one day.

But it takes more than a good idea and a desire to be your own boss to launch a successful venture.

Just ask Max Durovic. At 18, he increased his odds of making it with formal and thorough business planning. By taking the right steps, he built a booming business before he even graduated from college.

While a sophomore at Georgetown University, Durovic founded the inventive street-advertising company Aarrow Advertising. He began hiring 14- to 24-year-old students to carry sandwich-board sign ads for nearby retail chains and to perform trademarked tricks, spinning and tossing the signs to attract attention.

The sign spinners received hourly pay with a 10-cent increase for mastering each new trick. Durovic turned the idea into a booming livelihood by crafting a complementary team with an expert mentor, meticulously writing a business plan to focus his vision, following the financial feedback and continuing to plan. By age 22, he was leading 200 employees in five cities, and revenue was growing at an average rate of 10% per month.

Early on, Durovic faced one of the biggest challenges of enterprising young adults: the credibility gap.

Most entrepreneurs endure long hours, challenging management decisions and months without income, but young entrepreneurs may face larger hurdles. With minimal work experience, limited financial resources, fledgling credit histories and no start-up experience, they often have difficulty convincing people to take their business ideas seriously. Startups are already risky -- inexperience adds more risk. In fact, one in three new businesses fails by their second year.

How can you minimize your risks?

Use our checklist to get ready. We'll help you carefully weigh whether to trade valuable years of traditional work experience for your new business dream -- and then how to pull it off when you're ready.

Step #1 = Get some experience
Step #2 = Build a winning team
Step #3 = Fight inexperience with advice
Step #4 = Write a bulletproof business plan
Step #5 = Raise money
Step #6 = Follow the money

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