Finishing university will bring you two things: first is a great sense of achievement in gaining your degree, and the second is an utter sense of uncertainty, especially if you’re considering starting a business. A daunting prospect at the best of times, setting up a business in this unique context of having been thrown straight into the adult working world offers graduate entrepreneurs a slightly different set of obstacles than their older counterparts. Here are a few important questions that you may want to consider if you are thinking of starting a business after university.
Are you starting your business for the right reasons?
University is a unique time for any individual. A time in which you will have met people from all walks of life, and in this age of social media many will be trying to make money in all manner of ways. But the reason for starting your business is one of the most important decisions you will make. Are you only looking to make money? Will that be enough of a drive to make your business a success? Is your business idea commercially viable? Are you looking in the long term, or are you only hoping to set up the business to get out of an unemployment rut?
Have you really considered the costs?
The idea of generating revenue and swimming in profit may be a motivating factor, but have you seriously considered the extent of the costs your business will have. Business bank account fees, corporation tax, accountancy fees and insurance are but a few of the multitude of expenses you will have to consider before your business dreams come to fruition.
Costs also extend to you personally. Have you considered your own financial security at present? Do you need a part time job to fund your living costs? Can you get a job with flexible hours, so you can work on your business? Do you have any financial commitments which may affect your devotion to your business?
Have you thought about the help you may need?
The wide world of business can be a formidable prospect for any new-found entrepreneur. But it needn’t be one you face on your own. With age comes experience and expertise, so have you considered expanding your mentor network? If you’re not already an expert in what you’re selling, having a contacts book chocked full of skilled individuals will take you a long way. Another opinion is invaluable if you want to grow your business in a unique and successful direction, so have you considered taking on a business partner? A friend might not necessarily be the best choice, but is there a professional option whom you could bounce ideas off?
How will you fund your start-up?
Although it’s a time of growth as an individual, university is also a time of relative poverty for most students across the country. In this vein, are you certain that you can successfully fund your business? Do you have enough capital yourself? Have you considered how you would be able to raise the money? Do you have enough savings, use crowdfunding or turn to an investor? Have you considered that an investor doesn’t have to be an initial priority if you have the funds? Growing a profitable business and demonstrating proof of concept and organic growth could be the best way to get an experienced investor later down the line.
On the other hand, have you thoroughly mitigated the risks of failure? Are you thinking too big? Is there a market need for your business? Will your cash last?
During a time of such uncertainty, the decision about whether or not you should start your business is a contextual decision and will differ for each individual. The best place to start is to formulate a business plan. Explore the viability of your business, whether you can fund and maintain it, whether you need any external input, or whether you need a solid exit strategy. The key to success is great planning so you are prepared to weather any storm the menacing world of business may throw at you.
If you would like help with writing a business plan, we would love to hear from you. Contact us online using the form on the right or call 01604 420 420.