Nathan Testa founded Teko Corporation, a full-service digital agency that offers website and app development as well as marketing and branding services, in 2016. He was 17 years old. Since that time, he has taken his company global by forming a collaborative partnership with Indus Net Technologies, an IT firm based in Asia. As the head of the Australian operations, Testa manages a team of 15 employees in delivering innovative digital strategies to clients.
In spite of the fact that he began coding at age 12, Testa doesn’t believe he was born an entrepreneur. Rather he says he was influenced by his parents and grandparents, who ran businesses throughout their lives. They encouraged him to think outside the box, even supporting his decision to drop out of high school at age 16 in order to focus on building his own company.
Testa offers these tips for young people who want to start their own business.
- Identify your purpose.
It is critical to begin your journey with a sense of purpose. Ask yourself why you want to go down the path you have chosen. Is it for financial freedom? Is it to pursue something you love? These are important questions to ask yourself. Having a purpose will help you reach your goals.
- Develop a sustainable business model.
You must do your homework and spend as much time as possible developing your business blueprint. The blueprint can be summed up with one word: Sustainability. What distinguishes your business from others? Why should customers buy your product or service? Price is not always the buyer’s prime consideration. Take a moment to consider the perceived value you bring to the table. What unique benefit will the customer receive from you?
- Design a roadmap to success.
Develop a roadmap so that you understand where you are now, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. It doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed, but it should highlight key areas. The plan acts as the benchmark or checkpoint. As you travel along building your business, stop from time to time and check where you are to ensure you are still following the right path.
- Know your numbers.
Critical to success in business is understanding the numbers. Not all business owners are financially literate – and therein lies the problem. I decided to use a cloud-based accounting system to maintain financial information. This helped me understand my business, whilst also enabling me to invite advisors such as accountants and business financiers to view my system and guide me in better managing my business.
- Build a healthy business environment.
Having an entrepreneurial flair, although exciting and rewarding, can also be a lonely journey. Being around a vibrant community of like-minded people will help you to no end. Keep yourself surrounded by people who have a vision and are as goal-oriented as you are. Ideally, find people you can bounce ideas off of, and whom you trust to provide honest feedback. One great place to find such people is at your local co-working space.
Testa got his start in coding because he was “curious about technology – how it worked and what it could do.” During childhood, he spent “a great deal of time” playing interactive video games. Then his father asked Testa to help him create a website for his accounting firm and promote the business via social media. Testa leaped at the chance to test his abilities and see if he could help his father’s company stand out online.
Indeed, Testa’s efforts proved a success – so much so that his father’s business contacts starting hiring Testa to do their web development and online promotional work. He continued to build his digital expertise from that point on, launching his own company shortly thereafter.
Testa feels that his true life purpose isn’t so much about mastering technology as it is about encouraging other young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. “I interact with many entrepreneurs who are relatively young in years but mature in mind. I find that often they have chosen to do what they do because of a deep burning desire to pursue something they’re passionate about. They’re driven by purpose, and the monetary benefits seem to be the last thing on their minds. I enjoy helping – if in a relatively small way – by answering their questions and concerns. I act as a sounding board. I enjoy guiding people in launching successful businesses in an age of rapidly changing technology.”