Launching a Start-up: Should College Students Do Business after Graduation?

If you remember how Microsoft, Facebook, FedEx, and Napster started, you’d know the answer to the question in the title right away. If those who were still studying and even have since stopped attending university managed to build an empire, imagine what those with degrees can do. Think of the opportunities that are open that, for the most part, weren’t available while you were still a student. With diligence, creativity, and perseverance, you can make something for yourself even when still fresh out of college.

Of course, as the global economy struggles to rebound, that’s easier said than done. And hearing that is like pouring cold water over your plans to launch a start-up. However, if you can juggle numerous tasks at once, take on different roles at the same time, believe in yourself, and are focused on providing solutions to your customer’s needs, then you have a good chance of starting your business on the right foot.


Considerations to Make

One of the big questions you have to deal with in starting a venture is the one about sourcing your funding. Can you afford to hire full-time staffers, or are you contracting out your labor? Do you need office space? Can you afford to hire a website development company?

If you’re fresh out of college, you’re already facing a daunting task: obtaining the capital you need when you still have the student loans, zero savings account, or lack of work experience to contend with. Certainly, no bank or private lender will entrust their money into green hands.

Your answer? Angel investors – people who can give you the finances you need without requiring a good credit record or even tangible collateral. In return, you would need to provide your funding sources a percentage of your enterprise stock, a seat in the Board of Directors, or something of similar value. Or, just simplify it: you’d need to repay the loan somehow, someway, and that likely means giving them a percentage of the profits for an indefinite amount of time. Some successful entrepreneurs have managed to tap into the generosity of these investors and put the money to good use.

Another concern is the inevitable situation where you perform roles that are not exactly part of your core skills or preferences. This is because you need to make the most of every dollar since you are still building your business and are not making really income yet. You cannot afford to hire even one employee at this point. If you do, you will quickly be one of those that former Philadelphia Eagles general manager Susan Spencer described as failed “young entrepreneurs” – people who secured a staff too soon and therefore ran up too much overhead too early in the process.

Steps to Take

If your business plan involves making a profit out of a hobby you are good at, consider engaging in this activity as a part-time gig in the beginning and work your way from there. If you are hesitant and are really undecided, consider taking on a job in the industry where you want to succeed in so that you will learn the ropes and make the transition a better one in the future.

If you are confident that you can launch a successful entrepreneurial project, research, learn and network through other aspiring enterprise owners like you, or contact a capable and accomplished mentor who can guide you through your commercial endeavours.

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