Ever since Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg earned his first million, more and more aspiring young entrepreneurs have decided to be their own boss and launch their own businesses straight out of college.
But being a young entrepreneur isn’t easy – most don’t have the slightest clue where to start, struggle making up proper business plans, and have to constantly fight prejudices due to their age. While overcoming these challenges is just part of the gig, there are some things that young entrepreneurs can do (or not do) to make sure that things run as smoothly as possible from the very beginning.
To learn some of the do’s and don’ts of aspiring young entrepreneurs, continue reading below.
Research. First and foremost young entrepreneurs need to do research – on everything. This includes researching your potential target market, whether the product or service already exists, competition, approximate costs and includes researching investors. There is nothing more embarrassing than having a meeting with investors and not knowing anything about them: you can kiss your funds bye-bye. So do your homework and be prepared in every aspect of your business.
Use a Social networking Sites to help promote your business. Young entrepreneurs have an advantage over older entrepreneurs – they know all about social networking. Whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, a blog page or some other site, use these sources and your tech savvy skills to promote your product or services and get your name exposed.
Clear previous debts. If you took out a substantial amount of loans to pay for your college education, it is highly recommended that you remove yourself from debt before you decide to pursue your business endeavor. You might very well need to use credit cards to cover initial business expenses; but if your previous debt is not paid off bill collectors will hound you. Plus, signing-up for a credit card sans debt will most likely increase your spending limit.
Get Consumed with College Life. Recent graduates sometimes forget how to draw the line between business life and college life – it’s no surprise either, the transition from college world to working world is difficult for most and doesn’t happen overnight. But it’s imperative that you try to make the transition as fast as you can. Meaning, you’re a graduate now – watch the way you dress and the way you speak with clients, investors and vendors. Also don’t let your old college lifestyle (such as late night partying and drinking) affect your business in any way possible.
Hire Friends. Many young entrepreneurs turn to their friends in order to help get their business off of the ground because they will work for little or no pay. Let it be known that this is a huge risk you are taking and should not be done unless you are willing to lose that person as a friend forever. If you are on a tight budget, try to hire interns that will work for free or turn to outsourcing.
“Wing” your pitch. Lastly and probably most importantly, do not wing your pitch to venture capitalists. Rehearse what you are going to say. Getting their support is probably the only way you will be able to launch your business. Your interview and pitch will determine whether you are worth vouching for/investing in so practice what you are going to say. You may want to use an unbiased friend to help you out in this department and see what he or she thinks of your pitch. In addition, be prepared to address the weaknesses in your plan as well (no plan is perfect) – venture capitalists will be quick to point your weaknesses out. It’s your responsibility to convince them those weaknesses won’t be an issue.
Donna Reish, a freelancer who blogs about best universities, contributed this blog post. She loves to write education, career, frugal living, finance, health, parenting relating articles. She can be reached via email at: [email protected].
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