What does it take to start a business? This is one of those questions that you see people asking quite a bit.

from my experience. It’s one of those questions that plagues the minds of future entrepreneurs and eats away at the little ideas they have because they think they can’t make or they think there’s no way it could make any money.

What I’d love for everyone to realise is that anything can become a business from a new type of paperclip to the most advanced computer on earth. You can build a business from nothing these days (although a little something can go a long way) and we’ve proved that with our company. Here we are, a bunch of teenagers united only by a single module called “mini-company” and look where we’ve gone in less than a year. We won best in our region for Cork and we’re competing in the national competition on Thursday. We’ve also completed two websites and have a handful in the pipeline. We’re not exactly doing badly and, by social standards, we’re a bunch of kids.

In my opinion it takes a couple key factors to really make a business shine. Factor one is innovation – what are you doing that’s new and/or different? Innovation is something that’s very hard to nail down but you can see in the world around you. It seeps from advertisement and from products themselves (sometimes quite literally) and you need to realise that without a unique point to your product or your business, you have no advantage over anyone else in your market.

You’ve gotta be proactive not reactive. This is something that some people will probably never understand or be able to do but you have to anticipate the market and the trends instead of just reacting to them. The biggest example of this is stock markets and the people who partake in buying and selling shares on a regular basis. People like that have to be very proactive and intuitive to when something’s going to change and you need to be quick and agile when it comes to your company. You need to be able to look into the future, anticipate what’s changing then act before everyone else. The early worm gets the bird.

The last thing I want to mention is a general business sense. So I said you can build a business from nothing and that’s true, but you do need some sense of business to get it off the ground. You need to know how to market what you’re selling and how to network effectively and what aspect of your company you want to push. This can be taught but a lot of it can come from gut feeling and both are correct but sometimes the harvard business graduate is going to be out-played by the 50-something businessman with a hunch.

It’s not easy setting up a business but it is possible.

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