1. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
“When you start a business , you have to go step by step. The very first thing is to make a personal assessment. What are my real motivations? What are my strengths and weaknesses? Do I have the necessary diplomas and know-how? Am I a good salesperson? Will I be able to convince? Am I a good manager? A good technician?
Once this analysis is done, if you have identified any gaps, you have to ask how to fix it, “ explains Laurence Piganeau, Head of Expertise and Legal Services at AFE (Agence France Entrepreneur).
2. Evaluate your financial situation
Before you start a business , study your financial situation. You probably will not be able to pay for the first year of creation. If you still live with your parents, it is best to stay a little longer!
If you are in post, you have the opportunity to apply for a part-time business start-up. This can be a solution to keep some of your remuneration.
If you have no income and no one can shelter you, do you have savings that will allow you to face the first fixed costs of the business?
3. Find associates
” Young entrepreneurs often create a multi-purpose project. And they are right, it’s a formula that works! explains Laurence Piganeau. The complementarity of skills is a valuable asset when starting a business.
On the other hand, before you start, ask yourself the right questions: do you all have the same vision of the company? Are you in step with its future development? What place does everyone want to have? Who makes what decision? What is the degree of commitment in time and money of each? etc. “
4. Talk about your project around you
“Do not start alone without having confronted your project with experienced people, warns Laurence Piganeau. Know how to listen to them and question yourself. A business owner must have great adaptability. “
5. Get along
It is very important not to be alone and get help from the beginning of your project. Get closer to support organizations such as chambers of commerce and industry (CCI), chambers of trades and crafts, management shops or youth-specific networks, such as MoovJee (see box) , which offers a tutoring system between young designers and experienced entrepreneurs. Most are free or supported by public support systems.
You can also try to enter an incubator or an activity and employment co-operative (CAE) . These structures allow you to test your life-sized project without taking risks. There are some throughout France.
Finally, if you are in contact with entrepreneurs, ask them to advise you. There is great solidarity in the entrepreneur community.
6. Participate in young designer competitions
“Many competitions are organized for young entrepreneurs. Do not hesitate to participate, it’s a good way to let you know! You will be spotted by the media, invited in the shows, the shows … But be reactive because the journalists are people in a hurry! We must be able to respond quickly to their request, “ says Laurence Piganeau.
7. Be very professional!
Your young age and, probably, your lack of professional experience must be offset by the seriousness and professionalism with which you will prepare your business plan.
8. Go to the bottom (a bit …)
Take the lead! Find the media that interests you and can help you based on your activity. Find the right reporter and knock on his door. Do not hesitate to contact entrepreneurs who could open their network. Sign up for corporate design clubs.
9. Do not be discouraged
Not easy to be an entrepreneur … It takes a lot of time and energy. There will be ups and downs, some bad news and a bit of fatigue may demotivate you. But believe in your project and do not give up!
Know how to surround yourself with people (spouse, friends, family, associates, consultants …) who believe in you and know how to reboost you in difficult times.
10. Know how to stop in time
“50% of companies still exist after 5 years, but that does not mean that there are 50% failures: some stop by choice.
That said, even a failure is positive because a business creation is an experience that will allow you to bounce back. Having set up your business, even if it did not work, is a real plus in a resume. Entrepreneurship is a quality sought by recruiters “ , concludes Laurence Piganeau.