Thinking of creating a business plan? As the economy shifts and employers hire temporary workers instead of filling full-time positions, college grads can’t count on landing traditional opportunities. A study from Millennial Branding and PayScale shows that Generation Y is underemployed; more than 63 percent of Gen-Y workers with a bachelor’s degree are in retail positions that don’t pay well.
Create a business plan
How can students prepare to avoid this employment gap? By creating their own opportunities as entrepreneurs. What steps should you take if you think being a business owner is in your future? John Robitaille, executive in residence at Larry Friedman International Center for Entrepreneurship at Johnson & Wales University, suggests the following tips to prepare to launch your own small business:
1. Find your passion. Entrepreneurs often spend countless hours toiling away before they earn any money. It’s important to choose something you enjoy and are willing to commit your time, effort and energy to doing.
2. Prepare for a lot of hard work. Robitaille reminds would-be entrepreneurs that the difference between a hobby and a successful business is hard work. “Be prepared to make personal sacrifices, take risks and learn from failures,” he says. ”
3. Create a plan. While not every business starts with a formal plan, formalizing your idea by creating a business plan can help you avoid roadblocks and make your dream a reality.
If you have a tough time getting started, you can find sample business plans online. Robitaille suggests you keep it simple and remember you’ll probably change it many times.
4. Take advantage of on-campus resources. Make a point to try to identify a mentor. Robitaille suggests you “seek guidance from faculty members, alumni, professors and career counselors. They have the experience, skills and even networking connections to point you in the right direction.”
If your university has a business or entrepreneurship center, be sure to take advantage of it. He notes: “A mentor or adviser will be able to help get you started as you map out your business plan, as well as connect you with key tools and resources such as financial and legal professionals. They can also help you identify and resolve potential obstacles.”
5. Learn business fundamentals in the classroom. Even if you’re not a business major, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to select classes in business, marketing or finance. Topics Robitaille suggests include accounting for small businesses, marketing and operations management. “You need a good understanding of how business operates to commercialize your ideas,” he notes.
6. Intern in the industry to get real world experience. A great way to get hands-on experience in your target field is to intern. Not only can you pick up tips about how other companies or entrepreneurs handle the types of issues you may face as a small business owner, you’ll find out whether or not you really love the field and industry and if it’s worth the time and effort it will take to launch your own business.
7. Fund your venture. While many companies can start off on a shoestring budget, ultimately, you may need funding to scale your business. Robitaille notes: “Many universities offer entrepreneurial scholarships and awards for students who are working to jump-start their dream businesses.”
photo by karindalziel