I Recently Graduated

Some 70% of college grads are planning to start their own business. You may be one of them. The great thing about being young is that you don’t yet have all the biases about what’s possible and what isn’t that typically limit people’s imagination.

But, there are still things to keep in mind and avoid unnecessary mistakes.

If you were fortunate, your school prepared you to be a clear thinker and lifetime learner. You will definitely need both to be a successful entrepreneur. However, if your school prepared you to be a good employee, that won’t be very useful.

Here is the difference. Entrepreneurs must start from scratch and build something that didn’t exist before. On the other hand, good employees know how to be a team player and fit well into something that already exists. One thrives on uncertainty, the other needs certainty. Which one are you?

One thrives on uncertainty, the other needs certainty. Which one are you?​

If you are still thinking you don’t mind quite a bit of uncertainty, and in fact welcome it, then let’s continue. The most important skills you may have learned at school that can be transferable to entrepreneurship are: Ability to frame a problem clearly; methodically searching for a solution; organizing your findings; setting goals; and working towards completion of these goals. Those are the best parts of school that hopefully you learned well.

Sure, if you are thinking of building an app, it helps if you studied computer science or engineering. But dont think because you majored in business, you have a leg up on someone who didn’t. Most of the time, business majors make great employees, not great entrepreneurs.

So, before you start your business, make sure that you:

  1. Have a really compelling problem you want to solve. Anything else and it will take forever to find customers.
  2. Clearly understand who your customers are and how to find them
  3. Your product fully addresses the compelling problem in #1, better than any alternative that your customers have.
  4. Have priced your product to sell, but also to make enough money to fund growth.
  5. Have figured out the right sequence of starting the business—which problem to solve first, then what comes next and so on. This is really hard and getting it right is critical to success. 
  6. Have assembled a good support group that will cheer you towards success, lift you up, and never tell you to quit.

If you have the above mostly figured out, you will probably have doubled or tripled your chance of success.

Your Next Steps

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