If you’re already thinking about the wider world beyond high school, that’s great! There’s no better way to prepare for a future career in business than through developing your skills early on. Entrepreneurs are focused, motivated, creative individuals who know that the road to success means hard work and plenty of setbacks along the way. So, how can you give yourself the best running start? We’ve put together our top tips for building on your strengths and preparing for the future.
Give yourself time for creativity
It takes vision to build a great business and vision means your ability to innovate and think creatively. High school is a great time to start practicing this; you’re surrounded by opportunities to get inspired, learn new things and try some new things too. Why not take advantage of the clubs and activities your school has on offer? Join a music club and ask your teacher about the industry. Try 3D printing, robotics or coding to start thinking creatively about how products are produced and perfected. You could even start your own club! Guaranteed these kinds of experiences will go some way to shaping who you become and what you’re capable of.
Communicate and listen to others
There’s no better time than high school to practice surrounding yourself with different opinions, perspectives and to try voicing your own. The key to any great business is understanding people. You need to learn to consider how the world around you thinks, feels and what it needs. It’s also going to be important that you feel confident enough to communicate your ideas and justify why they’re great. Next time you hear a friend complaining about a problem they have, try helping them to think around the issue. Opening up a conversation will remind your friend that you care about them and you’ll get some problem-solving practice in too. Any opportunity to connect with others is a chance to hone your skills as a business person.
Manage your finances
This is really, very simple. Every business venture relies on great planning, management and maintenance. Handling your finances at high school is a great way to prepare for this. If you study abroad for high school, you’ve probably already started to build up this skill. Without your parents to handle things for you, it becomes necessary to know how to budget and factor in all your potential costs. The sooner you learn how to save, how to invest and make good choices about your spending, the sooner you’ll be able to understand how the top business men and women of the world operate.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and behind every great achievement is a healthy amount of rejection, failure and disappointment. Practicing perseverance is one of the most important ways you can prepare for a future in business and entrepreneurship. Try setting yourself goals. For example, if you’d like to start writing a blog then commit to writing five hundred words a day, every day. If you’re someone who struggles to get up and be productive in the morning, commit to getting up at an exact time, every day and stick to it. If you find a new pair of trainers you’d like to buy, then save up for double their cost. Delay the gratification, teach yourself something about patience and get the trainers plus the extra cash.
Find a mentor
You may not always recognize it, but at high school, you’re surrounded by people who have essential lessons to pass on – especially your teachers. These are people who have lived in the world longer than you, learnt something about success and probably something about failure too. They are ideal mentors and a resource that you shouldn’t take for granted. Find a teacher you respect, maybe someone who’s subject of expertise aligns with your own aspirations, and just ask them questions. You’ll be surprised by how willing they are to help and equally, how much they would love to see you succeed.
Start a business
Finally, nothing says entrepreneur like starting your own business in high school. This doesn’t need to be anything big – you just need to have a great idea. Maybe your classmates have a problem with sharing notes easily, or perhaps you could think creatively about how to help combat student stress levels. If you put thought and commitment into your idea, chances are your school will get onboard too. This is a great way to test run your entrepreneurial skills in a safe setting and to practice leadership. If things go well, you could even have a brand new start-up business to put on your university application.
At EF Academy international boarding schools, we help young people prepare for big futures. Follow the link below to find out more about student life, clubs and activities.