The idea of owning your own business sounds appealing to many, and for the millennial generation, the path of entrepreneurship continues to be a highly attractive option.
By Tom Portesy
A study by America’s SBDC, the association of small business development centers, shows millennials have more experience with small business and a greater desire to start small businesses than previous generations. But the study also demonstrates they need help and must understand all that comes with entrepreneurship.
Below are the crucial questions millennials should ask before starting a business.
- Do you have the entrepreneurial spirit needed to succeed? Those with the entrepreneurial spirit take calculated risks while understanding that there are never any guarantees of success. True entrepreneurship is a full-time, 24-7 job. Are you ready for time away from friends and family? Are you ready for rejection, disappointment, failure? Are you prepared for countless sleepless nights – risking everything you’ve got? It can be immensely rewarding, but do you have the spirit to excel? Don’t turn to entrepreneurship simply because you’re frustrated with your 9-5 or struggling with a job search. Make sure you’re fulfilling your deeply rooted entrepreneurial desires.
- What are you most passionate about? There are thousands of business opportunities to pursue – narrow your search by passion and aim to align your skill set. Question the “why” behind your aspirations. Passion will carry you through rough patches and keep you interested long after the initial enthusiasm has faded.
- Do you have the money? Understanding the total costs is crucial. Before you pursue a new business opportunity, map out the total investment – purchase costs, opening inventory, overhead, and how much working capital you will need before you break even. You’ll also want to consider where you can get funding. There are many options for funding but the two most common are individual savings and family/friends. Small business loans are another great source of business funding. Explore your options, because more than likely, you’ll settle on a combination of these options in order to pursue entrepreneurship. Diving deep into the financials can help you avoid a lot of stress down the road. This is an important step to determining if entrepreneurship is right for you.
- Are there other small business owners you can learn from? Do your due diligence and connect with other small business owners who have succeeded and struggled. Learn about the challenges overcome and welcome guidance/best practices. Attend small business networking events to begin acclimating yourself around a community of entrepreneurs. Start by looking into your Chamber of Commerce and the local networking events they might host. You may even consider attending small business and/or franchise expos for an opportunity to meet and converse with owners and take advantage of educational seminars and workshops.
- How much support will you receive? Entrepreneurship isn’t a one-man show – whether it’s friends/family, business partners, or a franchisor, understand and set expectations from the on-set. A strong support network will be crucial to your success, especially when you are just starting out and need all the guidance to hit the ground running and grow the business. Many Millennials are turning to franchising for an additional layer of support – investing in a proven business model, following a franchise playbook, and receiving resources and support from the franchisor. The International Franchise Association even launched a program called NextGen in Franchising to educate Millennials about the industry, and franchise consultants have begun launching social media campaigns to attract the emerging demographic. It is the perfect opportunity to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself.
If you’re honest in your responses to the above, you should start to get an idea of whether or not you’re ready to pursue entrepreneurship, if this is the right time to do it, and what kind of business is right for you.
Tom Portesy, a 20 year veteran in the franchise industry and president of MFV Expositions, hosts of the upcoming Franchise Expo Houston that will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center, October 4-5. Millennial attendance is expected to reach an all-time high as Houston ranks among one of the Millennial cities in America.