A Guide for Student’s Looking to Start a Business Right After College….
If you are planning to start your own business after college and chart out a unique career path for yourself, here are some top after graduation business ideas. Check out if you really possess what it takes to start a business after graduation.
Most of your classmates might be applying for a full-time job in hiring companies, but if you’re passionate about taking the road less taken or a different path, you can opt for a full-fledged startup or business as soon as you graduate.
Dream jobs are rather difficult to come by these days, so many graduates have actually started trying to fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams. This is a non-conventional path for new graduates, and it is tough.
Starting a Business Right After College Graduation
How to start a business? Hard work and passion for your work are two of the important hallmarks of a successful business!
- When you follow your passion, it is more likely that you will work with more enthusiasm and zeal and be able to overcome obstacles more easily, leading to better chances of success.
Remember: Steve Jobs the ex CEO of Apple firmly advocated the power of passion and claimed that his passion made a whole lot of difference to his work!
College could be the best time to start networking, in fact from the minute you step foot into college as it can help a lot while starting a small business. Building social skills involves a little more than merely handshaking and meeting a lot of people.
- Cultivate relationships and show others that you are trustworthy when starting a business after college.
- Start building mutually beneficial relationships by getting to know more people.
- People in the network can help you improve skills and grow in your profession. You can even find mentors in such personal networks.
- Your reputation improves with such relations.
Remember: Networking is a two-way street, so you should also consider ways of assisting others in your network!
Must Read: Starting a Business: 10 Step-by-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Looking to Start a Business
Researching Your Idea
Find out whether your business idea is viable in the real world while starting a business in your 20s.
While considering entrepreneurship after graduation, follow your passion, but also be objective. Check whether your idea will fulfill an unmet need in the market.
- Do a market research on your business potential after selecting the best business to start.
Tip: Make web searches, get information from industry associates, magazines, state agencies, libraries and so on.
- Use the research to find out the business potential, the type and size of competitors, the product/service usefulness. For instance, you can allow your target audience to view a prototype.
Tip: You can reach the target audience in several ways, such as Facebook, Google or simply an old-fashioned face to face interaction.
- Check out the competition and see what makes them tick instead of going through the trial and error procedure yourself.
You can use online survey resources to kick start your research! You can also hire research firms to obtain accurate research data about your targeted consumer base.
Business Structure: Startup Business Models
If you are fresh graduates who want to build a business, you have to decide the legal structure! Pick one that suits your needs.
- You can opt for (i) sole proprietorship (ii) partnership (iii) LLC or limited liability company (iv) corporation.
- The best option for a startup after college would be sole proprietorship for fresh college graduates. This is because you may not have to borrow much money and there is no likelihood of being sued. It is also comparatively simple and cheaper to maintain.
- LLCs and corporations are more complicated and LLC is the better option between the two, as it offers more flexibility in managing profit and is easier to set up.
Also Read: 10 Best After Retirement Business Ideas for Seniors and Retirees
Type of Business
While launching your business after college, consider the kind of business you’d like to start.
- You can opt for merchandising business, a manufacturing one or a service rendering business. There is also a hybrid option of manufacturing products and also marketing them.
- In case of a manufacturing business, you can select to be a wholesaler or a retailer. For instance, in a widget producing business, the factory producing the widget is the manufacturer and the distributors are the merchandising businesses.
It is an important aspect of managing and expanding your business.
- Define your business, its purpose and direction of growing over time. Explain about your product, services and your ideal customers.
- It is also important if you want to attract financiers and team members.
- It gives information about the organizational structure of the business, the team members, their duties and can be used as a reference for achieving goals, targets and milestones.
Building a Team
Even if you start a business alone, you might need to build a team down the line while growing it. One person cannot have the skills to take on all roles, so building the right team should be the top priority.
- You may not have all the qualifications required for various aspects, such as financing, marketing and so on.
Warning: A wrong set of people on your team could be disastrous even if you have a great business idea!
- Assemble subject experts who understand your product or service. Also, make sure that they also believe in your idea and add value to the company.
Warning: Don’t try to save money by using interns or opting for family members who are not qualified.
- You will need a lawyer, an accountant, and a banker for protecting the business and financing it.
Check Out: 8 Home Business Ideas for Food Lovers with Small Investment
Attracting Target Audience for Establishing your New Business
Identify your target audience and then implement ways of attracting them.
- Focus on that section of the demography or the geographical zone.
- Identify whether you will focus on residential audience or commercial ones, or both.
- Traditional media like television and newspapers might prove expensive for fresh college graduates starting a business. Instead, you can personally march into these areas and deliver your business card with phone number.
Create a web page with your city name included along with the area that you are targeting for the particular business. This way, your name will popup in web pages whenever a search is made with the right keywords.
- Create a powerful social profile and social page on Facebook, Twitter and so on.
Remember: To add links to these pages and engage with your target audience.
This is among the top aspects to take care of while starting your business after college graduation.
- Register your company as an Limited one or Corporation, etc.
- Write out contracts, as they are useful for future legal actions.
- Get your company insured.
- Be aware of taxes to be paid in your state.
- Be ready with legal documents like partnership ones and payment agreements.
- Protect your intellectual property using trademarks or copyrights, as your ideas can be easily stolen.
Tip: Consult a lawyer before you start your business and get relevant legal advice.
Must See: 15 Most Rewarding Business Ideas for Lawyers and Attorneys
You can just keep running, but you’ll run more efficiently if you set goals!
- Define short term goals as well as ultimate goals and directions. This will help you prioritize decisions.
- Be specific with numbers and dates. For instance, a vague goal could be ‘wanting to be a great success in a few years’. Instead, make it ‘ wanting to reach the 1 million mark within 4 years’.
- Specify short term goals , as they are more easily achieved. Make it measurable. For instance, the number of sales, the amount of revenue, the number of transactions, customer satisfaction ratios and other quantifiable aspects.
Remember: To follow your goals and be accountable! Make them reasonable and achievable.
According to several studies, most startups fail on account of funding problems.
- The amount of funds will depend on the nature and the kind of business.
- You can opt for self funding or bootstrapping, as it is difficult for fresh graduates to find funding.
- Other options include crowdfunding, Angel investors, Venture capitals and so on.
Related: Importance of Choosing the Right Location for Business
According to Center for Generational Kinetics, today’s businessman in America are younger, with 30% of millennials having started a business. However, most graduates do not know how to begin a new business.
Though there is no one size fits all for a startup, the above tips should help aspiring college graduates to ensure that their new business has the best chances of surviving in a competitive industry.
You can, in fact, start preparing skills and gain knowledge even while in college. Being self employed after college could be the perfect thing to do, as you don’t have to worry about kids and mortgages. You can give your all to your business when starting a business fresh out of college.
Get advice and tips from professors and alumni members, peer networks. Running your own company can give you a lot of satisfaction and you will be working on something that you are passionate about!!