Starting A Business 101: Entrepreneurial Tips for Recent Grads

It’s May and there are going to be hundreds of thousands of new college graduates planning their next steps. You attend college with a certain idea in mind like to realize your potential, gain qualifications, learn more things or prepare for your future. It can include all these things, some of them or even any other reason, but the fact stays the same – you will have to figure out what comes next after graduation.

Many of you know the story of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. It was his project during college, which turn into the multibillion-dollar industry. However, he is not the first to do that so early. Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Time Magazine’s Britton Hadden and Henry Luce are only some the people who struggled and succeeded with their business ideas while studying.

If you consider yourself a visionary or simply have an idea for a business that just won’t leave you alone, here is how you can turn it into something substantial. It won’t be easy, and you will have to joggle with college obligations, a part-time job and developing your idea. However, with patience, planning, and dedication, as well as with the following things, you could be heading for success.

Set your priorities straight

You can’t have it all at once – that’s something you will have to accept. Before you rush into developing your business idea, determine what is important now and what can wait. Additionally, ask yourself where you want to be after college and who you expect to become by starting a business so early.

Rest assured, you will have to sacrifice something and be prepared to do so, in order to realize your plans. Sometimes, it will be time needed for studying or attending certain classes. On the other hands, you may have to postpone some aspect of your business so you can do an important test or make up for missed classes.

Try to implement what you learned into your business strategy and talk to your professors for advice and guidance. See if there is any other course you can take that can help you with your idea and overcome certain problems. Alternatively, use your business idea as a college project, since that will give you enough input and possible solutions for issues you encountered.   

Look for internships and mentoring

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As a student, you have certain benefits, which you should use to your advantage. You can apply for internships and mentor at companies in order to gain experience and knowledge to help you with your entrepreneurship plans. Attend special lectures at your college or nearby venue, which regard startups, as well as the industry you are planning to enter with your business.

Many experienced entrepreneurs like to teach students and give them an opportunity at their company to acquire practical knowledge. Depending on your plans, some entrepreneurs may even offer to fund your idea, buy it from you or give you a job to develop it for them. These are all possibilities, which can help you to work on something new or position yourself in order to be independent one day.

Protect your idea

Protecting your idea doesn’t mean that everyone wants to steal it, but it’s a prudent thinking and one that prevents any problems once you launch your business. Depending on the type of business and industry, you will have several options for registering patents and intellectual property. The best way to start is with copyright protection, as well as trademark registration.

If you think it’s necessary, sign certain documents with your associates and third parties, like non-disclosure agreements, which will protect you from intellectual property theft. Additionally, check national and international patent databases in order to make sure that you are not the one committing infringement.  This will not only save you time and resources right from the start but also maybe even help you improve your idea.

Look for investors and funding

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Every business needs resources to develop, it is as simple as that. If you need additional funds, start thinking about finding investors and funding. Look for the contests that support your type of idea, see if any international programs are available, as well as which government funding measures you can apply for.

However, pay attention to conditions for entering into such agreement with an individual or private entity. If you don’t understand the type of relationship you are about to form, then seek expert advice or help. This means that you can talk to your professors, legal advisor or anyone you find fit to help you protect your business and choose the appropriate means of financial aid.

On the other hand, crowdfunding is a perfect way for alternative financing of your business. It’s fast, internet-based and allows you to reach more potential donors. Other ways could include benefit events, parties, auctions and other manners used for collecting resources used for decades.

Create a schedule

It’s important to create a schedule regarding every step or milestone you plan to take in order to develop your idea into a business. You can use the old-fashioned way with a bulletin board, post-its and paper if you prefer it. Or, try some software designed for this purpose which can even remind you in time when some milestone’s deadline is closing in.

However, the schedule is not only for your business, but also it will help you to keep up with your studies and other duties and obligations. With careful planning and making sure you respect the deadlines, you will certainly be able to study and work. Try to create a feasible and reasonable schedule, so you don’t tire yourself and start slacking off on your assignments.

Final words

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You can have it both, if only you dedicate yourself enough to your plans and ideas. At first, it will be hard and overwhelming, but in time, you will learn to relocate your resources and complete everything you planned. In the end, it all comes down to good organization of time, constant learning and adapting new trends, as well as not being afraid to ask questions and listen to advise.