Want a vibrant economy? Share time and knowledge with young people. That’s just what the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce is doing! Currently in its 13th year, the LEAD program is a business and education partnership that pairs high school students with community leaders who serve as mentors for an entire school year. Backyard Silversmiths® was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in their program by hosting the students and their mentors this week.
These students are awesome! They each clearly have a vision for their futures which includes college and beyond. Some want to start their own businesses right here in Central Texas, and so the conversation quickly evolved into three topics that all teen entrepreneurs should grasp:
Protect What’s Yours. If you come up with an amazing name for your business, trademark it. Have an idea for a new product or service? Apply for a U.S. patent. If your business is successful, people may steal or copy your ideas. However, if your creativity is recognized by the government as your intellectual property, it will definitely help you keep what’s yours.
Online is Not Enough. While you may think it’s easier to create a strictly e-Commerce business, you will leave out a large segment of potential customers who value face-to-face interaction. This doesn’t mean you have to operate a brick-and-mortar location. You can place your product in front of customers through pop up markets, retail trucks or live demonstrations.
Know Your Financial Break-Even Point. Every entrepreneur should know exactly how many units they need to make and sell each month to cover their fixed costs. If you don’t know the difference between fixed and variable costs, learn it. The greatest part about this is after you’ve sold the last unit to break even, your profit begins to build!
It was so fun for us to meet these LEAD students and we look forward to seeing them develop their careers and thrive in our community!
For more information about the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce LEAD Program, watch their video here. To see our “Understanding Fixed & Variable Costs” handout we gave the LEAD students, click here.