An inside view from Drew Bilbe and Troy Douglas, founders of Nexba Beverages.
You’re almost there. You’ve got that big game-changing idea and can picture how amazing it would be to have your own business. The problem? You’re young, time-poor and don’t have cash to burn.
We started Nexba aged 21 and 25, while studying and working full time. We had no experience in beverages, manufacturing or product design, yet launched Nexba, a natural beverage brand, which is now sold in over 3000 outlets nationally.
Some people will tell you you’re crazy for starting a business young. We say just do it!
Here are the top reasons why you should start a business in your 20’s:
You’re allowed to ask for help
Here’s a secret: when you’re young and entering a new industry no one expects you to know all the answers! Don’t kid yourself that you have to know it all.
Instead, use your inexperience as an excuse to recruit great mentors and influencers to guide your decisions.
Back at school our English teacher gave us a life mantra to “seek clarity and simplicity.” Listen to those with experience, as ultimately it can save you a lot of time and fast track your idea to have the best chance of success.
We were fortunate to be a mentee of exceptional industry leaders like Sharon Williams, CEO of Taurus Marketing and David Wilkie, Partner at Clayton Utz. Both continue to influence how Nexba operates.
Outsiders also help you gain perspective on your direction. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to always reassess your goals and business plan. Make time to reflect on yourself and where you are heading personally and professionally.
Ask yourself: what do I want to get out of this? Why am I finishing my degree? Why do I love my job or why don’t I? It will fast track reaching where you want to be.
You’ll procrastinate less
Having a full schedule will reduce your ability to procrastinate- it’ll make you more productive and organized.
When we started Nexba, we quickly learnt that when you’ve got a heavy workload, you just have to make stuff happen. You learn to think on your feet, to multitask a university assignment with a work proposal or a full time job with your dream job. You’ll be surprised just how many hours there are in a day!
Building a business from the ground up when you’ve got a schedule full of tutorials and lectures, while simultaneously working full-time sounds like insanity to most, but for us it was the perfect challenge and test to stay focused.
Starting a busy is not easy. From experience, you will find ways to enjoy every moment. And believe us, it’ll be worth it.
Inexperience might sound like a reason NOT to start a business, but at Nexba it’s worked to our advantage.
As students, we’re taught to view business with innocent eyes. Ethics and best practice are instilled in us regardless of what study you undertake. Don’t lose those values- they are your biggest asset for setting a strong foundation for your business.
In a professional context you often hear of unethical behaviour where the pursuit of margin and profit blurs the lines of what is right.
Since launching our business in 2011, we have experienced questionable industry tactics from multinationals, which ethically challenge our patience and professional integrity. Hold onto your values and don’t allow yourself to become jaded by business.
You’ll get the best industry training ever
A core mantra instilled in how we approach the world is to ‘live well, love life, leave legacy.’ Work is a big part of your life and study can increase your options, however ultimately it is the confidence in yourself that will separate your chances to succeed.
Nexba offered a prospect of putting into practice our passion for what we were learning at uni and made us motivated to perform.
Sure, there is big risk associated with starting a business. But taking that leap while you’re young means you will be thrown into a ‘sink or swim’ situation. If you’re resourceful, hungry for change and a fast learner, you’ve got a great chance at success.
Follow Nexba Beverages on LinkedIn for more entrepreneurial advice and inspiration.