Are you a recent graduate? Check out these 10 pro-tips if you're hoping to launch your first business venture.
“Any time is a good time to start a company.” –Ron Conway, Noted Startup Investor, SV Angel
If you’ve decided that the idea of starting your own business is more attractive than working for somebody else, welcome aboard.
You are one of a group of many, where few will actually succeed. Don’t think of that as a discouraging sentiment.
Instead, think of it as reality check so that you will always remember to work hard and be passionate.
Then, check out these 10 tips and use them to your advantage as you launch your first business venture.
Related Article: Why It's Okay to Skip Grad School and Start Your Own Business
1. Start Approaching Social Media as a CEO, Not a College Student
Keep in mind that once you head down the path of launching your own business, you are no longer a recent college graduate or young twenty-something.
The things that you share and write reflect on you and your new company. This isn’t simply a reference to insensitive or embarrassing postings.
When you launch a business, you are creating a brand. As the leader of your startup, you are part of that brand, and any publicly shared social media accounts should reflect that.
2. Create a Presence in Your Space
It is extremely difficult to start your own company when the people who are buying or selling that product or service, or who are otherwise involved in that industry don’t know who you are.
This is why it is important to make your presence known. You can do this by joining online communities that relate to your product or service, attending conferences, starting a blog where you write about things that are important in your industry, and reaching out to influencers on social media.
3. Use Your School Resources if They Are Still Available
If you have only recently graduated, you may find that there are still a host of resources available to you on campus.
First, it isn’t exactly the tops in accommodations, but your school library can be a great place to plan, research, and meet with your team members.
You may also be able to use other resources such as color printers, scanners, and research databases.
If your college has a job resources department or other similar group, they may be just as happy to assist you with finding help starting a business as they would be helping you try to find a job.
If you think you have intellectual property concerns to deal with, try sending an email to somebody to your college’s school of law or business department. They may be able to point you in the right direction.
4. Network With Staff and Alumni
This may be a good time to join your school’s alumni association, and get involved. If nothing else, you should definitely join LinkedIn and connect with other alumni and staff.
They may lead you to connections that you would not have otherwise. Take the time especially to reach out to favorite professors and staff.
Even if they don’t work in your niche, they may know somebody who does.
5. Figure Out Implementation
Ideas are great things. Unfortunately, in many cases, ideas are the easy part. The hard part lies in taking an idea and turning it into a working business.
In order to implement an idea, you must know how to build a team and actually develop a product or service until it is the point where it can be sold.
Even if you only accomplish this at the smallest level, get this step done as soon as possible. You can worry about scaling later.
6. Think as a Problem Solver
There is nothing wrong with starting a business because it involves a hobby or passion of yours. In fact, that is a great idea.
Your involvement in a particular industry as a participant and passionate consumer will serve you well as you try to launch a business in that niche.
Your passion will help to motivate you. Having said all of this, having a passion for something is not enough. You still have to identify an unsolved problem or a market that isn’t being reached.
Otherwise, you are simply going to be doing the same things that everybody else has been doing.
7. Don’t Hesitate
Right now may be the best time for you to to start your business. As a recent graduate you probably don’t have dependents, a lot of expenses, or a great job that you cannot risk.
Think about it, right now you are looking at entry level jobs, you don’t own property, and you may even have the support of your family to keep your expenses low.
If you work, you may even have some disposable income to play with. Get started today.
8. Put Together a Great Team
If you want to get the attention of investors, you will need to show them that you have assembled a great team.
This means selecting individuals that you can work well with, and who have the variety of talents required to handle each business area.
If you can get at least one or two people on board with proven industry experience, you will be in great shape.
9. Don’t Underestimate The Dirty Work
It would be ideal if launching a business only involved developing the products and services you are passionate about, marketing them, and then turning a profit.
Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. When you launch your business, you will have to consider obtaining, licenses and permits, securing loans, setting up contracts, incorporation, payroll, taxes, and a host of other not so glamorous tasks that must be done.
Related Article: Why An MBA Degree Isn't As Prestigious As It Once Was
10. Do Your Research
Too many startups fail because the people behind them base their plan of action around passion rather than research and data.
Before you invest time and money, do some research to learn who your target customer is. Know what is trending in your industry that is going to take hold, and what is simply a passing fad.
The last thing you want to do is end up back at square one (or worse) because you didn’t dedicate sufficient time to research.