How to Start a Business As a Teenager

Starting a small business is an immense undertaking that requires courage, determination, invention, and motivation. Many teenagers have great ideas and motivation, but simply don't know where to begin when they wish to start a business. The following steps provide a starting guide for teenagers interested in starting a small business.

  1. Earn a substantial amount of money to start out with. Get a job and put your earnings in a savings account. This will not only help you earn money, but you will learn the meaning of hard work, and you will know what it is like to work under someone else. If you inherit any money, put this toward the business.
  2. Pick what your product or service will be. Choose something that interests you, something you can be enthusiastic about. When you are interested in it, your customers will be interested in it. Try to find a niche in the market - an unexplored aspect of your chosen area of business. Try to somehow set your product(s) apart from the competition by offering something rival businesses don't. A good example of this is a dyson vacuum cleaner - the patented cyclone suction system is still after 20 or 30 years the best way to vacuum your carpet and people are willing to pay the extra money to get the best performance.
  3. Determine your target audience. Observe your competition and examine their target audiences. Adjust their audience and make it yours. Conduct surveys and ask people what they think about your business concept. Don't be afraid to let your concept evolve; there are some changes that can make your idea better and more profitable.
  4. Write up a business plan. Ask someone to help you with this; a mentor, teacher, or parent would be happy to help you. Also, for some inspiration, go to local businesses with products or services similar to yours and ask to speak with the owner. Ask them what inspired them to start their business, and what they enjoy about what they do. This can serve as an inspiration for your mission statement.
  5. Have the tools and supplies needed to start your business. With your own funds and possibly loans from other sources (again, parents and mentors are good people to ask for a loan. Make sure you draw up a formal proposal to show them that you mean business). With the money you have you can purchase the basic supplies that are needed to get your business off the ground.
  6. Execute your business plan. Ask friends if they would like to help, or if they would like to work for you. Build your business from the ground up, and never be afraid to ask for help.

  • Create a webpage. This will help when you are trying to get recognized by your peers as an independent business owner. Make your website as professional and formal as possible (try using a web design package {eg. Microsoft Frontpage}). this will make your customers and your competition take you more seriously. You can use your website as a source of income by hosting banner ads from larger companies, this is a great way to raise extra capital. If you can't download anything, then try .
  • Don't let people work under you until your feet are planted firmly on the ground.
  • Here's one idea: buy chewing gum for cheap at your local store, then sell at a slightly higher price to friends/others at school. You can usually pick up a pack for around $1, and resell each piece for around $.25, resulting in a large profit. The same can be done with soft drinks. A 12 pack of cans runs about $3-$5, and can be resold for $.50-.75 a piece. (Warning! When doing this, make sure it's not ILLEGAL to re-distribute without permission. Federal laws protect many items, & can carry a big punishment.)


  1. Internet marketing is also a good choice for teens to earn extra pocket money. Nice article.