Today, with entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg who built up the social media empire- Facebook while still in college, college graduates have begun seriously considering starting their own companies. While being one’s own boss is the best way to take charge of your life, taking the plunge also requires a lot of deep thinking and research.
Starting your own business right out of college is not easy; there is a lot of potential risk involved in case your idea or startup does not take off the way you expected. On the other hand you have a world to gain if it works in your favor. Here are some of the major considerations you should pay attention to and what you should do once you take this decision:
1. Create a solid business plan: Do you have a proper idea of what you want your business to be? Weigh your options and assess your working style, and business vision for the next few years. Do your research and find out what you need to do to run a successful business. Decide where you will operate from, the costs involved in selling your product, the way you will position your product or service, how much of time and money you are willing to invest in getting your company out, whether you need additional staff and by what time you expect to start making profits.
2. Build your base by freelancing: Freelancing is one of the most easy and powerful ways to market yourself and your talents. Think of freelancing as a stepping stone to becoming an entrepreneur – it allows you to assess the kinds of clients the market has and will help you hone your skills so that by the time you graduate, you already have a strong skill set and the necessary experience to work on your service or product offering.
3. Be aware of the risks: Starting out on your own especially right after college when you have not earned a steady income or held any substantial savings can be challenging. How motivated can you be? Do you have the drive to sustain this long-term? Assess your risks and potential issues you may have to tackle while building up your business. Have a back-up plan in place and be well-informed about every possible scenario you may have to face as a young entrepreneur.
4. Build a strong network: Your professors and mentors at college are always excellent sources of advice and inspiration. Make the effort to stay in touch with them, and try to build up your network online as well as offline. Attend startup events, entrepreneur meetups, innovation awards etc and connect with other entrepreneurs who started out right after college. This will also help you create a good base of potential clients and contacts.
5. Prepare for contingencies: While building up your own business from ground up can be an exciting and challenging phase of your life, be prepared for setbacks as well. There can and will be times when you may have to face rising business costs, slumps in terms of getting new clients, the challenge of being understaffed as you grow, and other situations. The key here would be to stay prepared for this and stay focused. Starting your own company right after you graduate is a wonderful opportunity that comes with its pros and cons. Keeping the above in mind would ensure that you are well-prepared for all the responsibilities, contingencies and risks that come with it, and ensure you plan for success in the long run.