Each year thousands of ambitious students graduate college, venturing for the first time into the real real world. Among these students is the new generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors – some with big plans, others with big dreams.
Going on your own venture the moment you finish college sounds exciting, but you need to be aware that it will also be a huge challenge. No matter if you choose to arm yourself with a well-put-together business plan or if you are planning to navigate uncharted territories armed with nothing but big dreams and courage, there is no easy way when it comes to starting a business.
Before you turn down a good job offer in the hopes of making it big as an entrepreneur, it is worth taking a look at what it takes to open a business when you’ve just come out of university.
It’s not impossible to open a successful business, even if you have no prior experience, but you’ll have to learn a few lessons before venturing into this world all by yourself.
Now is the time to follow your passions
If there’s a time when you can afford to follow your dreams without thinking about the paycheck, this is the moment. Statistics show people in their 20s have a much higher capacity for taking risks and allowing themselves to make mistakes. Most of them would have already taken these risks and making a series of mistakes they can learn from in the first five years after graduating. The experience they accumulate can be used in future ventures and will give them an advantage over those that played it safe after graduation.
With no mortgage, children, or huge responsibilities on your back, now is the time to follow your passions and explore how these passions can be turned into a business. As you age, the price of failure becomes higher and higher, as you feel you have more to lose and won’t be able to go through the stress of opening a new business without a certitude it will be profitable.
You are a digital native – embrace it
People that are now in their 20s have witnessed the most important stages in the evolution of the digital world, so why not make the best out of it? These things have trained you to harness the full power of technology to start, develop, and promote your business.
A lot of the tools and technologies available now were nothing but a dream 10 or 15 years ago, and people still managed to grow successful businesses. Imagine what you can do now, with all that power available at your fingertips.
Besides purchasing a domain, building a website, and promoting your business using digital marketing, technology can help you achieve so much more. Automation helps you keep track of business processes without having to spend countless hours learning the process behind accounting, payrolls, project management, and so on. Now, with just a simple online search, you can find very specific things, as for example, the best Canadian payroll software, and use them to simplify your entrepreneur venture.
Start by doing a lot of research
Having a big idea is one, but being able to come up with a plan to see your dream come true is an entirely different thing. If there is one lesson to remember from this list, that is to do your research well before venturing into any kind of entrepreneurial challenge.
Once you have your big idea, take the time to thoroughly analyze everything that goes into establishing your new business. Study the market, get familiar with your direct competitors, and learn how to understand the needs of consumers. This will help you make more informed business decisions and determine whether your plan is viable or not.
Once you start understanding how market research can help, you won’t be able to see your business grow without it. Many young entrepreneurs overlooked this step when venturing into their first business and have had to face a market that was not ready to receive their products yet.
Don’t pick idols; find mentors
There’s nothing wrong with looking up to successful people and wanting to mimic their success, but remember that every person’s journey is different. Instead of setting up unrealistic expectations by wanting to achieve the same kind of success as one of your idols, focus on the tangible world around you.
If you want to shorten the learning curve, find an experienced mentor that can offer guidance throughout your process. A mentor can help you network, provide unbiased advice when you feel lost and even scold you when necessary. You can ask them all these seemingly amateurish questions, such as how much to charge or how to be more persuasive with clients, without feeling inferior.
Once you are out of college, the days when someone would come and tell you exactly which pages to learn for the upcoming exam are over. Life gives us exams at every step, and unfortunately, very few people are going to tell us how to prepare for them. This means you are going to have to become a self-learner.
We live in a world where things evolve at a very rapid pace, and if you don’t keep up with it, you will have very little chance to keep up with your competitors, let alone surpass them. Attend seminars, conferences, workshops, read books, take online courses – leverage all the mediums you can to learn as much as possible about the market you are venturing into. Make this a constant practice, and you will thank yourself in 10 years.
Develop a strong professional network
Last but not least, establish strong relationships with people that can help you grow. A strong professional network is often what makes the difference between a successful business and one that fails to meet demands.
Take advantage of the fact that you are still young and much more open to meeting people and establishing meaningful connections. As you age, you won’t have the time, nerves, or dedication to put yourself out there and meet likeminded business partners.