If you’ve landed on this article then we’re guessing you’ve just wrapped up (or are about to wrap up) your full-time education and are now chomping at the bit to get out into the big, wide (working) world.
First of all, congratulations! We hope all of the essays, assignments, and sleepless nights were worth it. You’ve no doubt made some memories and friends that will last a lifetime but now’s the time to flaunt all those new skills you’ve acquired and put them to good use.
We’re going to make a second assumption based on the fact you’ve clicked through to this article and that assumption is that you’re buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit.
So if we’re right and you’re ready to hit the ground running on starting up your first business post-education, keep scrolling because we’ve got some invaluable advice to steer you in the right direction.
Advice for starting up a business after school, college or university
Here are five of our top tips for those looking to start a business after full-time education.
1. First and foremost, safeguard your financial security
Unless you’ve got a cushion of cash underneath you or dedicated finances ready to invest, you might realistically need to think about a period of employment before diving head-first into business ownership.
Even if it’s just part-time employment, plenty of successful entrepreneurs began their ventures as a side hustle. That way, you can make sure you’re financially secure whilst building your empire. It’s usually absolutely fine to work as a self-employed person whilst also being employed – just check your contract!
Once you do have some spare cash to invest in your business idea, we recommend hiring an accountant to help get your bookkeeping and accounts on the straight and narrow. This will help ensure you’re well-positioned to deal with things like taxes, budgeting and funding too.
2. Dedicate some serious time to meticulous market research
Another crucial thing you need to do before setting any wheels in motion is to carry out some thorough market research to establish the demand for what you have to offer.
Does it already exist? If so, is there a way you can do it better or different? If not, does that potentially mean there isn’t an appetite for it? Answer these questions for yourself before getting in too deep.
3. Now’s the time to start growing your network
Hard work and ambition are vital components to entrepreneurial success, there’s no doubt about that. However, a solid professional network can make the difference between coasting or skyrocketing.
Networking and growing your contacts is something business owners should be doing constantly, throughout their entire professional journey but when starting out, it’s more vital than ever.
As the old adage goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and while we don’t agree that knowledge comes second-best, there’s certainly a great deal to be said for the company you keep and the connections you make in the early stages.
4. Talk (and listen) to those who’ve done it all before
You’ve got big ideas, even bigger dreams and a clear, determined idea of how you want to get there; we get it, you don’t want to listen to anybody telling you what to do.
However, listening to and actively seeking out conversations with people who have either succeeded or failed at starting up a business can provide you with an invaluable conduit of knowledge and insight.
Treat these people as your mentors where possible. Absorb every tip, every piece of advice and every “if I could go back now, I’d do it this way…” suggestion like a sponge.
You’ll make enough of your own mistakes along the way so take advantage of the lessons others have learned from theirs while you can.
5. Accept failure and mistakes as a natural part of the process
Fresh out of full-time education, you’re likely still in the mindset that full marks and top grades are the only way forward. But guess what? Things are different now.
When it comes to starting up a business, there’s plenty of room for error. We’re all human and mistakes are totally normal – it’s all about learning to adapt, recover and make better decisions moving forward.
Oh and don’t compare yourself to others. Starting up a business looks different for everybody; there’s no linear, right or wrong path to take. Focus on yourself, stay in your own lane and don’t get distracted by what anybody else is doing around you.
Right, now you’ve got our pearls of wisdom to add to your own skillset and entrepreneurial spark, it’s time to grab that bull by the horns. Good luck, go get ‘em!
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