Even experienced entrepreneurs face numerous challenges when they’re starting a new business. Graduates have to go through the same process but add to that the stress and inexperience of a first-time business founder.
Yet, some of the most well-known giants, such as Microsoft and Facebook, were founded by college students. Starting a company from scratch at such a young age is no walk in the park, but it’s clearly doable.
Graduate entrepreneurs will have a world of problems to overcome, but with a lot of determination and the right idea, they can make it. Here are some common challenges they have to face.
With years of experience and vast business and social networks, established business owners have it much easier when it comes to financing their new business. On the other hand, as a grad, you likely have none of these advantages — you might even have student loans to pay back.
So finding investors can be a true nightmare. However, it’s important to keep your chin up and not lose hope. If your pitch is genuinely good, there are many financing options you can try, such as small business loans, crowdfunding, and even — as much as you might dread the idea — your parents. You’ll pay them back once you get on your feet.
Facing Age Stereotypes
Older professionals in your industry will probably look down on you at first because of how young you are. People tend to forget that they too were once college grads trying to make it from scratch.
If you’re trying to find investors, this may be another issue you will have to face, but don’t lose hope.
The important thing is not to doubt yourself. Brush any ageist ideas off with an air of professionalism, which will make “the big fish” take you seriously eventually. Once you establish yourself as a serious entrepreneur who isn’t taking their business lightly, others will begin to respect you, and you may find some valuable partners.
Lack of Mentorship
Building your startup from scratch is so much different than taking over a family business, for example. In the latter scenario, there’s someone to help you learn the ropes before you take the reins. You have someone to consult when making important decisions that will shape the future of your business.
As a new entrepreneur, you don’t have the luxury of mentorship. You need to think for yourself and hope for the best. The good thing is you can always hire a coach who is an industry expert to guide you through the initial stages. This will be immensely helpful as your coach will be someone who has already been through the entire process, possibly multiple times.
Hiring the right people for your startup may seem like an easy task, but with no experience in it, you’ll find it a lot harder than you might think. Your business will depend on your employees, and assembling a strong core team is one of the most difficult tasks you’ll face.
You need to remember that you’re not only looking for skills and qualifications — you’re looking for an overall fit. That means, your new hires need to fit the company culture and be on the same page with you. Be completely honest and open with your applicants if you want to find the right people who will work well with each other and also stay loyal.
Stress and Fear of Failure
An essential thing new business owners often forget to do is just breathe. Of course, the stakes are high, and you’re carrying a lot on your young shoulders, but you can’t let stress consume you completely.
Even if taking a mini-vacation seems like missing out on opportunities to establish and secure your business, you need it from time to time. Staying healthy and preserving your sanity is just as important as keeping your business afloat. That’s why it’s vital that you take a breather every now and then. Make sure to sleep well and exercise as these things will help you stay on top of your game and relaxed.
Lack of Entrepreneurial Education
Only rare colleges carry out entrepreneurship courses to help students gain valuable skills and confidence for starting their own business. Unfortunately, outside of business and management schools, most other grads who become entrepreneurs have no previous relevant education.
Universities mostly focus on developing academic skills, and entrepreneurial ones are most often overshadowed.
However, even with such a background, you can thrive if you’re resourceful and persistent. After all, there are so many examples of successful businessmen who didn’t even graduate from college.
Even with extensive education and preparation, no one can truly prepare you for the real-life experience of starting a business from scratch. You’ll need to be patient, smart, persistent, and confident if you want to make it.