“The Mark Zuckerberg's of the world make startups look easy, but the cold hard facts are that 9 out of 10 new businesses fail in the first five years,” notes Carol Roth, a Chicago-based business strategist. (Fortune.com).
It is always the question many college students ask after graduation, "Can I just start my own business now?"
Now, the answer isn't black and white and it comes down to what you know, who you know and whether or not you can make a go of it for a long period of time. Yes, most small businesses do fail, but that also takes into account that it is easier to open the business than sustain it and therefore many fail.
The first thing most college students must answer is why they want to skip the corporate world and just start their own business. Is it because they truly have a great business plan, the means to start it up and the drive to work alone and continuously for more than five years? If the answer is yes, then you may consider moving forward. If the answer is because you just don't want to work with others, want your own hours and want to make money fast, then you might want to revise that resume and make other plans.
I am not saying those in the latter category haven't made it work, but the reasoning isn't what it should be--and their success was mostly luck.
Now, once a basic character check has been completed and you believe your mind and heart are in the right place, it is best to look over finances. Do you have student loan debt or any other loans you need to pay back? Do you live at home or do you have rent and utilities? Once you examine your expenses, you need to look at your savings, whether you have anyone who will invest in your start-up and if it is even feasible from the start to open your business.
Now, if you are a one man (or woman) show out of your parents home or apartment, then you won't have much overhead and the expenses may not be too crucial, but if you plan to have your own office then you may want to downsize regardless of your money situation. The number one reason for failure is taking on too many expenses at once such as a place to rent, hiring employees prior to gaining any capital, etc. The point of this paragraph is the most basic form is see what you can do and if you cannot afford it then don't move forward until you can.
Besides just having the money and drive, you also have to have the credentials. If you are opening a marketing firm then your customers want to see at least some form of experience within the field. If you are selling baked goods then it would be good for customers to see that you might of won an award or two for your dishes or that you took culinary arts classes.
Unfortunately, when you start out right out of college this can really make or break you. It is easy for others to see a young person starting out and assume they have no experience, but if you have the physical proof then it could help. Myself for example, I already had four years of experience in the Communications world at the time of my graduation through jobs, volunteer opportunities and internships--as well as a huge portfolio of my work to show potential clients.
The point being, you need to be able to prove yourself with tangible proof of your worth in a world that always has had a stigma around young professionals.
Starting a business straight out of college is a real risk--but if calculated correctly could work. Now, when 90% of businesses fail in five years, that is a staggering rate, but who is anyone to take someone away from a life experience or lesson in entrepreneurship or the opportunity to possibly be the 10% that succeeds. As long as you go in ready for anything and willing to take on the stress and risk--and know you won't end up without a dime to your name--then I would not cower away in fear.
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