5 Necessities to Catapult Your Company to Success

If you’re considering entrepreneurship, think about it like this: you   can spend the next 10 years working for a corporation, or you can spend   the next five or 10 years learning how to start and build companies.   The latter may be harder, but also that much more rewarding and valuable   for the rest of your life. When you’re at a young age with nothing to lose, it’s the perfect time to give it a shot.

Here are five key things that catapulted my company, Jackthreads, from a one-man operation out of my bedroom to a multimillion-dollar company with over 1 million members:

     

  1. Passion

     
    Early on, I realized the importance of choosing an idea that   I’m passionate about. When I graduated from Ohio State in 2003, I knew I   wasn’t headed toward corporate America; I wanted to start something. I   launched a small business with a friend, selling promotional merchandise   to college athletic departments. It was successful, but nothing huge,   and I decided to walk away because I wasn’t excited by my work. I’ve   always been into men’s fashion and online shopping, and when I began to   parlay this interest into a business, it never felt like work. I was   spending more time on hobbies I already enjoyed, making it much easier   to wake up and push myself harder every day.
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  3. Audience

     
    While online shopping, I noticed a huge hole in the market for   guys who wanted to buy cool brands at affordable prices—which is a   massive audience. After some research, I realized the brands in this   space didn’t have a partner to turn to. Though the private shopping club   model was taking off in Europe, I set out to bring it to the U.S. and   address the lack of off-price retail options for 18-35 year old guys.   Our niche targeting and unique audience is now what separates   Jackthreads from other e-commerce sites.
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  5. Cash

     
    No matter how passionate you are, cash is crucial to being   able to create and scale any successful business. Access to capital is   usually exceptionally difficult to gain; not everyone is lucky enough to   attract the attention of an angel investor, but that’s not the only way   to succeed. I used credit cards and worked night and weekend jobs to   get my company off the ground. That funding source, combined with a very   frugal mentality, allowed us to invest only in activities that directly   supported the growth of the business.
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  7. Team Selection

     
    For the first two and half years of developing Jackthreads, I   worked alone. The day I launched, the website was a mess—the e-commerce   site wasn’t accepting any credit card payments! Thankfully, a young   developer who had just graduated from Ohio State fixed the website   within two weeks. He was hired immediately, and for the first nine   months after launching, it was just the two of us. Whenever a certain   job in the company got to be too much for us to handle on our own, we’d   hire to fill the position. This came back to haunt me a few times, since   I’d hire just to fill the role without ensuring it was actually a good   fit. Hire slowly to make sure you get the right people on board for   long-term success. A great team goes a long way, and we have that today.
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  9. Role Models

     
    Though sometimes it may seem embarrassing or intimidating,   never be afraid to ask for advice. Along the way, I constantly sought   advice from mentors, retail professionals, e-commerce experts, etc.   Whenever an issue arose, I would seek an expert on the subject to bounce   ideas off of, and this helped me avoid mistakes I probably would have   made otherwise.

This article is reprinted with permission by The Young Entrepreneurs Council (Y.E.C.), which provides  its members with access to tools, mentoring, community and educational  resources that support each stage of their business’s development and  growth. Y.E.C. promotes entrepreneurship as a solution to  youth unemployment and underemployment.

  ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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