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After young entrepreneurs have described their basic business ideas, then the real work begins. Their next task is to find out if anyone will be interested in the products or services they intend to sell. This is the most fundamental task entrepreneurs have to do before they invest a penny in their proposed businesses. Unfortunately, for young entrepreneurs and adults alike, it is one of the most overlooked aspects of business start-ups. Every entrepreneur has made this mistake at one point or another. For some, it is a fatal mistake. For others, it is an expensive way to learn a lesson. young entrepreneurs, in particular, always feel that there is great demand for their products or services before they do the simplest of investigations or research to confirm their feelings. Many of them don’t understand that not everyone shares their opinions about the value of their products or services. Over the years, I have found that as long as young entrepreneurs focus on how their products or service benefits can their customers, they can more easily determine whether anyone will be interested in what they have to sell.

Young entrepreneurs first have to decide to whom they can sell their products or services. Will the customers be parents? Homeowners? Other young people? What will the ideal customer be like.

Initially, Sue Hansen of SportsTees wanted to sell her T-shirts to the kids in her neighborhood. After talking it over, she decided that introducing T-shirts with school-related themes and selling them to her fellow students would provide her with a bigger market. She changed her focus to both kids in school and their parents. To the kids, she would sell T-shirts with popular slogans on them. To both parents and kids, she would sell SportsTees at high school sporting events. In a swim meet, for example, she made up twenty Art-Shirts with two of the school’s champion swimmers painted on them. Like Sue, you may find other possibilities about the type of people that will buy your products or services by talking to your potential customers.

As young entrepreneurs are working on their plan, they should also think about when their product or services can be offered. Are their businesses seasonal or do they sell their items all year round? Naturally, the need for their products or services can change during the year because of factors that they cannot control. One ninth-grade student makes more than $1,000 each year selling Christmas wreaths. Obviously, she sells her wreaths only from late November to late December because no one would want to buy a wreath after Christmas. There are other businesses that are short-term or seasonal. A lawn-care business lasts about five months of the year in the New England area. Sue Hansen, the 16-year-old owner of SportsTees, runs her business during the school year because most of her sales are to students and parents who attend school athletic events.