When you think ‘entrepreneur’, what springs to mind? A career-climber who has been there, done that, and wants their own adventure? In fact, more graduates than ever are creating their own startups – and for some excellent reasons.
Benefits Of Starting A Business After Graduating
It’s a daunting prospect to go into business without any work experience to fall back on. However, being an entrepreneurial graduate has some significant benefits…
Be Your Own Boss
To never even get into the ‘rat race’ to start with after graduating is a luxury. You’ll not need to deal with working under someone else’s rules. You set the tone, the pace, the direction. It’s all you.
Be Ahead With Technology
You’re part of the tech generation! While more established businesses and older entrepreneurs need to learn the latest nuances of smart tech, you’re already using it. This gives you a huge advantage against your competitors.
You can use the technology you’re used to quickly and easily, to coordinate your business life and integrate as many apps as possible for true productivity. What takes more traditional people hours could take you minutes. This is vital when you’re a time-strapped entrepreneur.
You’re Adaptable And Quick To Change
Established businesses have set protocols. This means that a new opportunity in a market takes a while to catch on. They need to go through their established processes for approval on a new product.
As a new entrepreneur, you can sneak into these gaps in the market and make the most of being far more flexible and adaptable than a more established business.
You’re Used To Living Frugally
As a recent graduate you can still remember the days of only eating ramen to make ends meet. It doesn’t phase you if you need to double-use your teabag to save cash. (OK, that’s an extreme example).
As an entrepreneur, cash flow is going to be limited for a while. It takes at least a year to create, establish, and steady a new business with a reliable income. Your spare money will be poured back into investments for the new business.
For people who have already become used to a regular monthly income, and for those with responsibilities such as a mortgage, frugal and unreliable living is scary. For you, it’s standard.
Everything You Earn Is Yours
Graduates often find the tax and National Insurance bills on their first pay cheque daunting. As an entrepreneur you still pay taxes – but then you know that every penny you’ve earned is yours.
You’re not working for a wage to make somebody else a millionaire. All of those pennies and pounds are yours, from your hard work.
The Disadvantages Of Being A Graduate Entrepreneur (And How To Overcome Them)
Of course where there are advantages there must be disadvantages. However, the main problems you’ll face as a graduate entrepreneur can all easily be overcome.
Low Capital For Starting Out
You’re used to living frugally because you have no money. That means you have no cash for your new business!
There are several ways to overcome this.
First, minimise all overheads wherever possible. Work from your bedroom instead of hiring an office. Start out your marketing using free or cheap digital tactics such as social media. Use word-of-mouth and free networking events to find your first clients.
Second, find funding sources. You could try a crowdfunding website to gather an income for product development. Alternatively, make a business plan and approach your high street bank. There are plenty of ways to find funding – you just need to look around for it!
Unfortunately, your age as a new graduate may go against you. Businesses may want someone with more ‘experience’ – by which they mean someone older.
Don’t let this stop you! Your portfolio will speak volumes. Create a professional website and portfolio, and conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times.
Show your potential clients that you can do the job. Your age doesn’t matter!
Not Knowing Where To Start
With no business experience it can be confusing to know how to start your own company.
Seek out a mentorship programme – most local councils run them for free. Alternatively, connect with the Princes Trust, who offer free business mentorship programmes for people under 30.
These are also great networking opportunities to help you find your first clients!
How To Start A Business Straight Out Of Uni
Now you know why you should start a business as a new graduate, let’s look at the how. Here are the first steps you’ll need to take if you want to succeed as a new graduate entrepreneur!
Before you start any type of business, make sure it’s a viable one! Do plenty of market research to make sure you can make money out of your idea.
This could be looking at current competitors and what they do or don’t offer, or holding some audience surveys to find out what customers think.
It’s worth spending plenty of time on your market research, as you can use it to build your business plan and identify those all-important Unique Selling Points (USPs) that’ll set your company apart from the competition.
Create A Business Plan
There are plenty of free business plan templates available online, and they’re a great way to start writing your own.
A business plan is essential. It gives you a mission and a purpose, which is important in the early days of a startup.
It also provides investors, such as banks, a concrete plan for how you’re going to recoup any investment costs and meet repayment agreements.
Find A Mentor Or Business Launch Programme
Once you’ve created a brief business plan, reach out to discover where you can access additional business mentorship in your area.
There may be local classes run by your council, or a special business launch initiative. If you’re not sure where to look, ask your local Job Centre to advise you on self-employment schemes in the area.
Find Your First Capital
You’ll need to find some investment in order to cover your startup costs such as marketing and research.
There are lots of online resources to help point you in the right direction so you’ll easily find the best funding route for your business.
Whatever you do, avoid borrowing on credit cards to start your company! At the very least register your company as a limited business. Then set up a separate business bank account with an arranged loan. This will help provide you financial protection should things go wrong.
instantprint: A Brand Built By Graduates
Our founders, Adam and James, started instantprint straight out of university in 2009. After struggling to find an easy way to order print for university events throughout their time studying, they founded instantprint as a way to solve this problem for other people who don’t necessarily have all the know-how or jargon-busting to design and order their own print, like small business owners.
Check out our story here to see what’s happened in the years since we launched the business over a decade ago.
Go Forth And Be A Graduate Entrepreneur!
Now you know the how AND the why, what are you waiting for?! It’s time to consider your best new business opportunities as a new graduate entrepreneur and get cracking on starting your own business.