Career Advice for Job Seekers

5 Tips for Becoming an Entrepreneur After College

William Frierson AvatarWilliam Frierson
July 24, 2012

Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim, CEO of KAS Placement

Many recent college graduates consider the option of owning their own business, yet only a small fraction of those individuals follow through on those thoughts.

For me, being an entrepreneur has been a great experience and it can for many others.  If you’re thinking about opening a business after graduation, consider the following 5 tips prior to taking the dive:

1. Know Why You’re Opening a Business – We all have different reasons for opening a business.  Some are very positive while others typically can lead to a failed entrepreneurial endeavor.

A few stronger reasons for opening a business should include a having a great idea or sincerely wanting to own a company.  These two have worked for many young, successful entrepreneurs.

Personally, I opened a business because I knew that I could not make the money nor have the creative reach I wanted to by working in a corporation as I did not possess the ability to function well in a controlled environment.

While I’m not sure this is the best motivator, it worked for me.

While no reason is great or horrible, I would deter any recent graduate who wants to open a business simply to avoid getting a job as entrepreneurship is a 24 hour position and to get a business up and running is a tremendous amount of work.

2. Know Who You’re Going to Sell To – Many young entrepreneurs want to open a business and begin their planning without knowing who they are going to sell their product or service to.

If you want to open a company and to see whether the idea is viable, prior to doing anything else make a list of who you are going to sell the product or service to and how you are going to get to them.

Is this game plan reasonable or should you go back to the drawing board?

3. Learn What You Need To – Entrepreneurship takes a lot of learning after college.  Don’t think that your degree has given you all the necessary skills in order to open a business.

Rather, think of you degree as a base amount of knowledge to expand upon.  I always say that what is learned after college separates the successful young entrepreneurs from the ones who don’t quite make it.

4. Be Realistic – My rule of thumb is to keep it simple.  Don’t treat entrepreneurship as if it were the lottery and that you are going to come up with an idea that is going to strike it rich.

Don’t get me wrong: if you have an invention that is going to make life better for mankind, don’t let me stop you, but if you have a floating beer pong table and have expectations to hit it big, the odds are probably stacked against you.

5. Take Baby Steps – Rome was not built in a day nor are any good companies.  At first, it is important to aim small and gain small victories than aim big and miss the target altogether.

In the End

I am convinced that any young, aspiring entrepreneur can successfully own their own business.  All it takes is some hard work and belief in oneself.  The above tips should simply increase your odds of becoming a successful entrepreneur after college graduation.


Bio: Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement an executive search firm based out of New York City.  Ken has been published throughout major media over 400x as well as lectures at universities regarding job search techniques.

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