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How to Advice Students with An Entrepreneurial Spirit

Jan 3, 2019 by

Not every student is cut out for college or dreams to be a doctor or lawyer. The diversity of the education system is one of the many things that make it so amazing. As high school students start brainstorming their future plans, no two paths will look the same. Some students love the arts while others are more geared toward mathematic and science careers. Then there’s those students who are natural born entrepreneurs and sales people. For those students who are flirting with the idea of opening a business after graduation, here are a few pieces of advice to help guide them in the right direction.

Help Them Understand the Risks and Commitment

Being a business owner seems glamorous to some. You get to be your own boss, make all the rules, and have the potential to make millions of dollars. While this is all true, these rewards are not guaranteed and don’t come without risk. Make sure that students dreaming of becoming business owners understand the risks involved with doing so. The old adage “it takes money to make money” is fairly accurate. Whether you take out a loan, borrow money, or use collateral, any young entrepreneur will need funds to start a business. And investing those funds without any guarantee of a return is risky. Especially for a young adult without a financial safety net. But a financial commitment isn’t the only one that a business owner must make. People don’t say that they’re married to their business for no reason. Entrepreneurs quite literally spend more time at their place of business than in their home during the first few years of ownership. While this may be perfect for a young, single individual, if they’re dreaming of starting a family, they need to keep their work habits in check and balance their professional and personal lives.

Lay the Proper Foundation

While entrepreneurship requires some “street smarts” students will also need the educational foundation for success. This means obtaining a degree in business marketing or a related field. Even if the student chooses not to attend a 4 year college or even a community college, getting certified in some type of business or marketing background is highly recommended. Don’t allow students to blindly enter the business world. Not only do they need proper knowledge for how to run a successful business but there are also rules and regulations to follow dependent on the business niche. Things like choosing a supplier, setting up a payroll system, offering employee benefits, and staying compliant with specific regulations. You can learn more about compliancy on this blog.

Have a Backup Plan

Not putting all your eggs in one basket is a very important life lesson that will benefit any student as they approach graduation but it’s especially true for those looking to enter the business world. While dreaming big and being ambitious is extremely important, students must also be realistic. For example, if your student has convinced themselves that they’re going to be a professional athlete with no backup plan, they’re likely in for a rude awakening. That’s because only 2% of NCAA athletes every make it pro. That’s not a very encouraging statistic. When it comes to business, nearly 50% of small businesses will fail within the first 5 years. Encourage your entrepreneurial students to think of a few careers they might enjoy outside of being a business owner. It wouldn’t hurt to gain some education in these areas as well. Business owners can take online courses and get other certifications while pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams. Help them prepare for success without completely ignoring the possibility of failure.

Find a Mentor

One of the best ways to give students a sneak peek into the business world is to help them find a mentor. Help students research local businesses or marketing companies that offer internships. This is the perfect way for them to get hands on experience with how a business is run. Let them speak with the business owner and ask questions regarding the workload, managing employees, responsibilities, hours, and tips and advice. See if you can find someone to specifically mentor the student. Although this is great experience, nothing will fully prepare a student for becoming a business owner but it will open their eyes to both the glamourous and rigorous side of entrepreneurship.

As an educator, it’s your job to help students dream big. They should leave high school viewing the world as their oyster, with endless possibilities and potential. But they must also be realistic about their dreams. Owning a business can be extremely rewarding but doesn’t come without challenge. Encourage your students while also helping them see all sides of the equation.

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