As an entrepreneurship major, you may be wondering what the future holds for you after you graduate with this business degree. Your journey begins before graduation. Explore the possibilities and begin to navigate your post-graduation landscape. The future is full of possibilities, and the path you choose when you start a business will greatly impact your success. Unlock your entrepreneurial potential!
Being a student entrepreneurship major is an exciting and rewarding experience. Not only are you pursuing your academic goals, but you’re also preparing to build a business. Some people wonder if going to college matters when you have an idea for your own business or are planning to join a family business.
Do know the knowledge and skills you are developing will absolutely help your along your chosen path.
However, as graduation approaches, many student entrepreneurs find themselves wondering what the future actually holds and how to get started. Will they pursue their business venture? Will it be a small business? How small is small? Should they seek employment? Will an MBA be helpful? What are their options? How do you make it happen?
In this article, we help you prepare in advance so you are more comfortable navigating the post-graduation landscape. We are gearing articles for entrepreneurship majors, but any business major – business administration, international business, business management… doesn’t matter – you will all have similar questions. As business graduates, you need to plan ahead.
From starting a new venture to joining an established company, your path will be unique, but developing it has similar unknowns and similar opportunities – it’s really more about where your interests and talents take you. This is a critical time, so let’s dive in!
Start preparing. Know where you want to go, and how you’ll utilize your entrepreneurship degree, and start considering your path.
- Rely on your mentor
- Build your resume
- Start planning
- Consider your options
If you have the opportunity to join a family business, your decision might be easier to define, and you may have a starting salary.
If you are starting your own venture, you need to consider your business plan and what it will take to start this business with regard to effort, skill, and funding. You also need to highly consider how to generate enough income to also live on.
Rely on your mentor
Mentorship is a crucial aspect of success for many entrepreneurs. A mentor can provide guidance, advice, and support as you navigate the challenges of starting and running a business. Participate in your school’s formal mentorship program or create your own.
- Great mentors come from all industries and walks of life. Perhaps yours is a fellow entrepreneur, experienced in your industry. Perhaps they are quite the opposite of you and can provide great balance.
- Communicate well. After taking time to learn about their experiences, share your own goals and challenges. Build a plan, and be proactive in reaching out and ask for their advice or feedback.
- Stay Accountable and focus on your mentorship goals. Set up regular check-ins or meetings to discuss your progress and gain feedback.
- Remember to show gratitude and appreciation for your mentor’s time and advice. Thank them for their help.
Build Your Resume
As a student studying entrepreneurship, you know what it takes to run a business and you are developing unique skills and experience. Even if you pursue your own business and know you are hiring yourself for the job, you still need a resume.
Your resume will help you craft your vision into a business plan. It will help you determine next steps and figure out what you need to get started. It will also increase your level of confidence because your resume content becomes part of your elevator pitch – and you’ll be sharing the vision and mission a lot!
- Structure your resume in a classic or creative manner. The key is to have it accessible.
- Highlight your unique skills and experience.
- Emphasize your ability to take initiative, work independently and your work ethic
- Review the habits of successful entrepreneurs and make sure they describe you
Take all you’ve learned, and apply it to your business idea.
- Consider what takes to bring your product or service to life. Consider where will you create it or sell it. Know your cost to produce and deliver. Consider your time fully. Your time has value!
- Know your customer, how they shop, and how you will reach your target audience.
- What share of their wallet are you hoping to capture and what will affect that purchase decision?
- Know your costs, your competition, and evaluate your potential risks. Know what it takes to succeed and estimate how long it will take to generate a profit and how to develop further.
Consider your options
- Are you business ready? Do you have the location and means to produce and reach your customer, and invest in your business while paying for your own cost of living? Yes – great – then go.
- If you are not business ready, evaluate your business plan and what it takes to launch. Any size startup requires a plan. The plan highlights what you have – and what you do not have but need. Do you need additional training? Is it an immediate need? How much time is required? Can you launch while gaining this experience?
- Is continuing your education the right path?
- Do you need to work for another company as you build your own business? If that would be helpful, consider whether work experience would be helpful or if you need to work certain hours in order to follow through on building your business at another time?
Can you handle 2 jobs as you build your business? Of course you can!
Speaking from personal experience, I am most productive in the morning. As I was developing my business, I maintained a full-time job from 12pm-8pm, got up at 6am, and dedicated 4 hours every day to developing my business.
Build Your Network
Networking is critical for an entrepreneur. You are always sharing your business, both to spread the word, and also to gain insights from business owners, leaders, consumers and your competition.
You may have graduated but you never stop learning!
- Network with Peers
- Connect with other students and faculty members
- Attend conferences, workshops, and industry events
- Join professional organizations, and connect with other entrepreneurs in your field
Immediately after graduation
You are holding your degree in entrepreneurship. Congratulations!
You’ve considered your options and determined your starting point.
Now do a self-check:
Are you still positioned to start your new business? Do you need additional training? If so, can you get that by working for someone else? Will you work part-time to bring in a steady income as you build or is it best to work full-time so you can reach your goals for supplies and a space?
If you are going to work for someone else or pursue additional education – use all that you prepared. If you are starting your new venture full-time or part-time, continue reading!
Starting Your New Venture
If starting your new venture is the logical step, know that with your solid foundation and experience gained during your academic years in the entrepreneurship program, you have the skills and confidence to take your business to the next level. If you are moving in this direction, here are some tips for starting a new venture after graduation:
Treat your business as a business.
- Go to work every day.
- Have a business plan, and set up your week with full days and priorities to meet your goals.
- Use a daily planner. Use ours, use your own, but use one. Know what you are doing in the morning, take your breaks and work diligently toward your objectives.
- Starting a new venture requires capital. Explore funding options such as maintaining a supplemental paying position, or utilizing loans, grants, or venture capital. You might even consider crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Be wise though. Think past emotions and excitement and be practical and carefully consider your needs vs. actual costs.
Create your marketing plan
- Create short term (6mo – 12mo_ and longer term goals (1 – 3 years) long term goals will become 5-10 as you develop
- Define Your Brand Identity: Define your brand’s values, mission, and personality. This will help guide your messaging, visuals, and customer interactions.
- Build your brand, developing a consistent visual identity
- Leverage Social Media, utilizing engaging content
Demonstrate Habits of Successful Entrepreneurs
- Demonstrating leadership
- Embracing change
- Embracing Failure
- Take responsibility
- Be Persistent
A note about failure: Failure is a natural part of entrepreneurship. It’s important to embrace failure and learn from your mistakes. Earning your degree in business did not remove all of the hurdles from your path.
Your college degree did come with much achievement though, and as part learning the basics of business, you learned to reframe failure as a learning opportunity. Ask yourself what you can learn from the experience, apply that learning to future endeavors, and take your next step forward.
Leverage Your Network
Whether you want to move forward and start a business, decide to work for someone else to gain experience or create a steady income, or return to school, leverage your network.
- Use your network to find job opportunities.
- Connect with alumni, professors, and industry professionals.
- Attend career fairs and networking events.
- Attend workshops or conferences, or taking courses in a specific area of interest.
As an entrepreneurship major, your future is full of possibilities. Whether you start your own business using 100% of your time, start part-time while you join an established company, or pursue further education, it’s important to plan, define your goals and seek guidance. Business students graduate with some hard skill development and your business school program also supported you with the development of soft skills; you need both, so school was a wise investment. Now, with a solid plan, paired with hard work, and perseverance, you’ll be your way to achieving your dream. The moment you graduate, your new chapter begins! You got this!