While, of course, it’s commonly assumed that the purpose of going to college is to study, there is no reason why you can’t develop both a theoretical and practical knowledge of entrepreneurship in college. It’s entirely possible to be taken seriously as a young entrepreneur, even if you’re still in college or a recent graduate. As young entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Evan Spiegel, and Nick D’Aloisio have clearly shown, experience isn’t a necessary determinant for creating extraordinary results in the business world. In fact, your college years may be the best time to build your entrepreneurial skillset; after which, you can then focus on building your own business after you graduate.
Entrepreneurship during Your College Years
Colleges offer unique advantages for building a wide range of entrepreneurial skills. For instance, your school may have entrepreneurship classes, seminars that invite famous entrepreneurs as guest speakers, and networking opportunity for business majors to meet with local business leaders. In addition, many startups are open to hiring college students with hardware and software computer skills. While, of course, it may not be realistic to launch a full-fledged business while pursuing a heavy class schedule, it’s still an excellent time to incubate a future business idea by doing something entrepreneurial on a modest scale. Michael Dell, for example, built personal computers while still a freshman student at the University of Texas, an interest in technology that inspired him to later build Dell Computers after graduation.
Entrepreneurship after Graduation
For most people, life after college is about leveraging their degree to find a corporate job that can use their specialized knowledge; for some, however, those who laid the groundwork for an entrepreneurial course during their college years, it’s a time for deciding how to start a business. If you’re a recent graduate and you’re determined to be an entrepreneur, you have two available options: you can either buy a franchise or start your own business from scratch. Let’s take a closer look at these two choices.
Buying a Franchise?
After researching available franchise opportunities and settling on the one you like, it’s possible to buy a franchise by getting an SBA loan. Although you may not have any business experience, the loan is based on the franchisor’s track record. Since this is a turnkey business, meaning it’s a complete business that just needs someone to run it, a franchisor will provide ample training on every aspect of the business to help you learn how to set up the business and operate it. You’ll also be provided with plenty of resources, like marketing templates and a rich network of business contacts. In addition, you’ll receive ongoing support on numerous aspects of the business, from hiring employees to scheduling daily operations.
Building a Business
If you have adequate business knowledge and a clear vision of a product that you’d like to bring to the marketplace, then you may prefer to build your own business. It’s a good choice if you want to create your own environment, pursue a passion, create something from scratch, and sell it at the price you want. You’ll have the freedom to do things your own way, and the flexibility to set your own schedule.
Which One Offer Fewer Challenges?
Buying a franchise has fewer challenges because most of the problems of the original business idea will have been worked out by many people over a long course of time, often at great expense. As a result, your chances of success are far higher. In an article in Entrepreneur entitled Why You Should Buy a Franchise Instead of Starting Your Own, Rick Grossman, a franchise expert outlines why a franchise stands a statistically better chance of business success: “Government research over the years has indicated that the success rate for franchise-owned endeavors is significantly better than the rate for non-franchise-owned small businesses,” he says. “In short, the good news is that franchising makes up a significant part of the national economy and presents a statistically better chance for success than other business options.”
Naturally, the fact that a franchise has fewer challenges and that stands a good chance of long-term success should not deter you from starting your own business if you know what you’re doing.
Ultimately, then, deciding how to go about being your own boss depends on your weighing the pros and cons of both business models as well as on your own interests and inclinations.