In 2013, the International Labour Organization reported a sobering statistic about employment in the Middle East. With a staggering 28.3 percent of all young people and over 40 percent of young women not engaged in steady work, the region had the highest rate of youth unemployment across the globe. However, individuals, universities, and companies across the Middle East are working to bring this number down, and several nations across the region have allotted more resources toward fueling entrepreneurship. Some groups have spearheaded entrepreneurial training programs, while others have created incubators that assist fledgling businesses and support would-be entrepreneurs.
Even with this help, many young people have little professional experience, let alone the knowledge and resources required to launch and sustain a successful business. Whether you are looking to establish a business in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, there are a number of helpful tips that can help you make the most out of your startup. Here are a few of the most important:
Follow your passion.
Every great startup begins with an innovative idea, but you will not be able to see your concept to fruition without the key element of passion. Operating any type of business will consume most of your time, so you should pursue something that you love and believe in. Passion motivates people to learn everything they can and develop a deep knowledge of their particular field—something every entrepreneur needs to succeed. Passion also helps people keep moving forward in times of difficulty or failure. Never establish a startup to simply say that you did. Without direction or interest, you will be less satisfied with your work and your business will go nowhere.
Maintain the right attitude.
It is common for young entrepreneurs to boast a higher level of self-confidence than their more experienced counterparts. However, you should not let your tenacity and drive for success develop into cockiness. Believe in yourself and take pride in what you do, but also stay humble and honest as you work to get your startup off the ground. Bravado that isn’t backed up by hard work won’t impress potential investors or business partners. And if you lie to yourself about your startup’s strengths or weaknesses, it will be extremely difficult to fix problems and achieve growth.
Take advantage of your resources.
It is often difficult to gauge how much goes into founding a startup until you do it yourself. Making all these different elements come together can be overwhelming, especially when you’re establishing your first company. Even if you are determined to do everything on your own, it is crucial that you learn about all the various resources that are available to you and use each of them to your advantage. One such source of support is other professionals. Always look to hire experienced, talented people to supplement your team and provide much-needed business advice. Alternatively, you could look into seeking assistance through a mentor. Business incubators and classes at local universities or other educational institutions are other resources to consider.
Develop a sustainable schedule.
As an entrepreneur, it is easy for you to spread yourself too thin as you try to accomplish all that your startup needs. Over time, however, a hectic schedule can begin to take its toll. In addition to a reduction in productivity, your health can suffer and you can find yourself becoming burned out. To prevent this, focus on developing a schedule that is sustainable. Create set intervals for important daily tasks, let go of responsibilities that are not absolutely crucial, and delegate work whenever possible. Part of your daily schedule should also include some “down-time” that will allow you to take a breath and recharge, whether it is by getting together with friends, exercising, or taking time to pursue a hobby.
All facets of public relations, from networking to advertising, are important in the success of your startup. Social media is perhaps the most accessible, least expensive, and important PR channel that any young entrepreneur can use. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to actively promote your brand and directly engage with your customer base, and the only cost is your time. For more exposure, you can try reaching out to your local media to get your company’s name in the press.
Be wary of costs.
Managing a business’ finances is tricky for any entrepreneur, but it can pose even more of a challenge for those who have little experience. When you reach your funding goal, you must be careful not to over-spend on things your startup does not need. With the right knowledge, you can save money even in crucial areas such as labor, marketing, insurance, and rent. In addition, you can minimize IT expenses by making decisions like foregoing on-site networking and costly ERP software in favor of cloud-based programs and storage.
Believe in yourself.
Your startup may have all the crucial elements of success, such as a talented staff, ample funding, and a solid business plan, but the most important aspect is you. As a young entrepreneur, you can easily become caught up in the challenges that you and your startup will inevitably face. Don’t let these setbacks or your own doubts get the better of you. Never make excuses as to why you cannot work through obstacles. You’ll be surprised at how far you can go if you simply believe in yourself and your potential as an entrepreneur.