I often find myself searching for opportunities to expand my knowledge in entrepreneurship and connections within this industry. Now, I know that this year has been extremely challenging because of the pandemic, but I feel that the excuse of the pandemic is limiting the opportunities for young entrepreneurs.
In general, I think that the goal to tackle new and exciting opportunities stem from CREATING your own opportunities. The Startup Studio provides a really unique opportunity for students under the age of 18 to learn the skills necessary to start a thriving business. However, it is entirely up to you to make the most out of this program. As Ms. Hall would always mention, there are two options…#1 you take advantage of everything presented in the hopes of attaining additional connections and knowledge to grow your business or #2 do the absolute bare minimum to get a simple “P” next to the class on your transcript.
Throughout the course of ONLY ONE YEAR in the program, I have had the privilege of interacting with various mentors across countless industries. Not only was I able to learn more about their line of work, but I was also able to seek advice for areas of improvement in my business ventures.
In this program, you meet countless mentors simply through the people that your teacher brings in. One of the best things that I believe you can do is stay actively engaged, ask questions, and most importantly see if anything they are saying can be applied to your business. If so, TAKE ADVANTAGE of it!!!! Any sign of correlation between whatever they are speaking to, to the business that you hope to start should be an instant introduction that you make to learn more. Ask to set up a Zoom call. I came across multiple GA’s and mentors who provided meaningful advice that I knew could further propel the progress of the company I was starting. I reached out to them, and ultimately set up multiple Zoom calls to discuss further growth in these ventures.
If you are lucky enough to strike up a relationship with one of the mentors, it is extremely important that you OVERDELIVER. Now, what do I mean by that? Well simply I recommend that you are organized, come into each meeting with a plan, and most importantly not only apply the feedback that they are provided you, but also incorporate other ideas and changes based on feedback from other people, outside of the feedback provided by the mentor(s).
My next point is having more than one mentor is totally okay. When I first reached out, I had three mentors assisting me with the company that I was planning on starting, however ultimately that number decreased as I progressed into the finer details. If a GA/mentor sees that you are putting in the work and time to achieve greatness, not only will they most likely be more than happy to provide you with feedback and time, but they may also provide you with some of their services. For example, a student in one of the other classes received a legal consultation and review of her business plan/legal documentation, simply because the GA could tell that she was serious and dedicated to the formation of her business.
Yes, that is right, you must stay in contact communication with your mentor, even after their guidance may no longer be needed. This is something that I personally have struggled with, as it seems like as High School students, we forget about continuing relationships, once we believe there is no longer any value to it. Being on top of communication, regularly sending out follow-up emails, and checking up emails is one of the key ways to develop a strong relationship with a mentor. Lastly, setting up additional meetings on a regular basis shows your commitment and dedication to your future company.
My experience with the tools and outline listed above have been unbelievably helpful and successful. I am a firm believer in growth, and I think one of the strongest ways to achieve growth is by meeting other unique individuals who challenge your existing expectations and ways of thinking. That is truly one of the most beneficial ways to grow and ensure that you are building a business that is bulletproof for the future.