One of the biggest problems that many of us face in life is the feeling of being usurped by the younger generation. Whether you are working in a company competing hard for promotions or you are an entrepreneur fighting for space and recognition in a crowded marketplace that is getting busier all the time, the last thing you need to see is people younger than you coming into the market with enthusiasm, fresh ideas and achieving success.
You have to take new challenges as a spur to work harder and develop yourself, but there will be times that the success of someone much younger than you can stop you in your tracks and make you re-evaluate your life and what you have achieved. If you are having a difficult day or you are not feeling too confident at the moment, it is maybe best that you look away now!
This is because there has been a news focus on an 11-year-old boy who is currently bringing in more than £1,000 a week through sweets! This seems like something out of a children’s story, but Henry Patterson created an online sweet store and has since followed up that success with a children’s book and branded merchandise. With a turnover of more than £65,000 and over 70 companies stocking his products, this is the sort of tale that can be inspiring but also very off-putting, depending on your outlook on life.
From smelly to sweet with success
Henry got the entrepreneurial bug early on in life, and his first business venture was selling bags of manure for just £1. We’ve recently seen in this season’s Apprentice that manure can be a good way to make money, and if there is a metaphor for getting your hands dirty, this is the product that fits the bill. Henry then moved into the online market, selling sweets that he had bought at charity shops on eBay. The profit from this venture enabled Henry to develop a “children’s lifestyle brand” that is called Not Before Tea, and that offers a wide range of products including books, clothes, stationery and bags. With a book called Pip Gets A Job, Henry has packed in more careers than many people three or four times his age!
Clearly this is a young man with good ideas, a strong work ethic and parents who have supported him, but there are other elements to his success. Henry clearly knows the target market he is aiming at very well, and he probably doesn’t have the fear or self-doubt that many impacts on business leaders and entrepreneurs. Having the confidence or the naivety to push ahead with ideas can be a great thing at times, and this is probably something that many should be considered by entrepreneurs.
There is also the fact that Henry has an excellent angle or edge to his business. When it comes to a Unique Selling Point, the USP is surely the fact that the products are being sold to children by a child. This is not going to be a USP that works for you, but there will be some element or aspect of your business that you can offer which people don’t have. You may think that your years of experience means that you don’t need to take lessons from an 11-year-old, but when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, this 11-year-old is probably streets ahead of many people much older than him. This means that it is very much worth looking to see if there are any lessons you can take and utilise for your own business.