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From Start to Finish: Transforming Graduates Into Entrepreneurs

The argument for taking the reins of your career in your own hands (i.e. becoming an entrepreneur) rather than signing on with a big corporation is becoming more and more convincing. Just this week, an article in The Huffington Post entitled “Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Entrepreneur” encouraged college graduates to “start their own companies and be masters of their own destinies,” or, at the very least, to join a startup working on something they believe in.

Today’s mobile market, along with easy access to advanced technology and global audiences, means that starting a business is more accessible today than it ever has been before. And people are starting to pay attention. Conversations about entrepreneurship are becoming more common. Gone are the days when recent graduates would automatically seek out corporate employment immediately after college. Instead, they’re weighing their options.

In "Mentoring: An Entrepreneur's Ticket to Startup Success," we talked about the importance of mentorship to running a successful startup. In an age of entrepreneurship, aspiring businessmen and women are going to need mentors more than ever. Traditional employment at a big company often comes with programs and resources designed to help employees succeed. It’s common for a company workforce to have access to resources like internal and external training, workshops, cross-training, brainstorming sessions, seminars and conferences, human resources, and career advice.

But when you’re venturing out on your own, it’s up to you to find the resources you’ll need to reach your goals. If you’ve never worked in business before and have only your education to draw from, this can be a daunting task.

The solution is to find someone who’s been there, and then ask him or her to teach you everything they know. In other words, find a mentor, maybe even two.

In order to start a business, you’ll need to learn things like how to build a brand, how to market your product or service, how to allocate resources, how to design a business model, and how to take risks, among other things. The chances of finding one person who possesses all the knowledge you’ll need to be a successful entrepreneur are slim, so don’t limit yourself to just one mentor.

Your mentors don’t all have to be entrepreneurs, either. Certainly you should seek guidance from someone who can help you navigate the uncertain waters of starting your own company, but you can also gain valuable knowledge from people who have expertise in other areas important to running a business, like marketing, finance, sales, and human resources. The more you know about the inner workings of a business, the more successful you’ll be in running your own.

Entrepreneurship is becoming a realistic alternative to employment for today’s graduates. More and more schools are incorporating entrepreneurship programs into their course offerings, and the plethora of organizations, workshops, books, and start-ups geared toward supporting entrepreneurship—both online and offline—means that aspiring entrepreneurs have access to more tools and resources than ever before. Pair all of this with the proper guidance, as well as a hefty dose of dedication and hard work, and you’ll be on your way to realizing your dreams of starting a business you’re proud to put your name on. 

If this post resonated with you, check with your organization to see whether you are part of the MentorCloud network. If not, sign up for a demo here! Our vision is to create a mentoring planet in which true equality is achieved and hard work is rewarded, but it's only possible with your participation.