25 ways to be successful in business before you’re 25

Ensuring that you’re on a successful career trajectory when you hit your mid-20s is not as simple as getting a good graduate job – there’s a lot more to it than that. Here are 25 things that you should do to ensure a successful career before you’re 25.

1. PLAN AHEAD
Having an idea about where you want to get to professionally – and how you intend to get there is essential.

2. NETWORK
These days networking starts early – at university and as an intern. Network before your career begins and you’ll reap the rewards later.

3. LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
In this day and age, nobody can afford to make the same mistake twice – learn from yours!

4. BECOME DECISIVE 
Indecision can be professionally fatal – learn the skill of being decisive as early as you can.

5. UNDERSTAND OTHERS
Being intuitive and understanding what makes other people tick is essential for succeeding in any career.

6. WORK TO YOUR STRENGTHS 
We all have our strengths and you should try to utilise yours within your work as much as possible.

7. LEARN TO BE HARD
Although most people don’t enjoy being ruthless, sometimes it’s important to be a bit of a hard bastard in order to be successful.

8. BE IN PEAK PHYSICAL CONDITION
When you’re a professional in your early twenties you are worked very hard and you tend to burn the candle at both ends. Counteract this by being in tip-top shape.

9. BE WORLDLY
These days remember that you’re not just doing business with the residents of your city, or the citizens of your country – you’re dealing with the people of the entire world.

10. BE WARY OF YOUR WEAK SPOTS
Just as we all have strengths – we also all have weakness. Be sure that you avoid showing yours in your professional life.

11. CULTIVATE A REPUTATION
…A good reputation. People should know early on that you’re somebody that’s good to do business with.

12. IDENTIFY TALENT
One of the most important components of business is being able to identify talent in others; make sure you learn how to identify it.

13. UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS
Understanding the needs of your customers and clients is the only essential component of commerce.

14. MAKE SURE YOU’VE LIVED
By the time you reach your mid-twenties you need to make sure that you’ve enjoyed life, travelled and really lived – because now the hard graft really begins.

15. BECOME A PERPETUAL OPTIMIST
Being optimistic and radiating positivity is essential for success in your career. You’ll be more likeable and the people around you will be buoyed by your attitude.

16. LEARN NOT TO TAKE IT PERSONALLY
Principles and grudges have no place in capitalism, learn to take the hits and move on.

17. UNDERSTAND TIME
Time is, of course, money so you need to understand early on how best to utilise yours.

18. TREAT EVERY POSITION AS IF IT IS YOUR DREAM JOB
Even if you find yourself in a job that isn’t your ideal – you should still act as if it is. You’ll be sure to do better with that sort of attitude.

19. BE FLEXIBLE AND ACCOMMODATING
The young are expected to do more and work on the least pleasant tasks in the office – don’t complain, just accept that this is part of life.

20. COMMUNICATE
Hone your communication skills; if you don’t know how to communicate properly, you won’t get very far in any profession.

21. UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF HONESTY
Honesty is essential within the professional forum and being truthful is generally the right way to go.

22. BE A TEAM PLAYER
Even if you’re self-employed you still need to work with others. Being a team player and working with others is obviously very important indeed.

23. REQUEST MORE WORK
Asking for more work and not shirking off will endear you to you seniors and obviously stand you in good stead with everybody you work with.

24. DEVELOP A GOOD WORK/LIFE BALANCE
Developing a healthy work/life balance is ever so important and those that get this balance right always tend to be the most capable in the office.

25. KNOW WHEN TO ASSERT YOURSELF
Knowing when to assert yourself in a professional context and knowing when to stay quiet and humble is ever so important to learn – use your instinct and intuition.

Further Reading