College Graduates Want to Start Businesses—But Are They Ready?

By Rieva Lesonsky

It’s officially summer. Caps have been tossed in the air, hands shaken and diplomas grabbed, and now thousands of recent college graduates are ready to realize their dreams. For many, those include dreams of starting their own businesses.

A whopping 61 percent of recent college graduates want to start their own businesses, according to The CT Corporation survey. Forty-five percent think it’s very likely they will do so, and 20 percent have already started a business of their own while in college. Even the 30 percent of recent grads who admit it’s highly unlikely they’d ever start a business say they would like to.

However, those dreams may be about to get a dash of reality. Fewer than half (45 percent) of those who want to start their own businesses believe it’s really feasible. And 67 percent of recent college grads admit they don’t fully understand the tasks that are critical to starting a business. For example, two-thirds don’t understand what’s involved in incorporating their business, 59 percent don’t know how to market a business or prepare a business plan, 54 percent don’t know how to obtain a domain name for their business website and 45 percent don’t even know how to come up with an original name for their businesses.

Recent grads also have some fears related to the risks involved in business startup. Only 21 percent believe that starting their own businesses offers more security than getting a job. However, once they have a big more life experience under their belts, recent grads believe their confidence level will rise. Looking ahead 10 to 20 years, 51 percent of respondents say that they’d feel more secure starting a business than taking a job.

Clearly, having a great idea for starting a business isn’t enough. There’s a skills gap and a confidence gap that could keep the next generation of entrepreneurs from bringing their dreams of business ownership to life.

As an entrepreneur, how can you help the next generation harness their enthusiasm, energy and ideas and bridge the confidence gap? Well, confidence comes from doing, and from gaining the skills you lack. Why not…

  • Get involved with organizations to support college entrepreneurs
  • Hire recent grads to work in your business, either as employees, freelancers or interns
  • Work with local colleges and professors to help their business and entrepreneurship students gain real-world experience, such as by working on projects for your business to gain class credit.
  • Speak at colleges to share the realities of entrepreneurship with students considering it

After all, as entrepreneurs we know how much we rely on others’ help to succeed. The least we can do is “pay it forward” to the next generation.

Did you know that you can save time and stay organized by hiring a top LLC company to handle legal tasks like business formation? ZenBusiness (the #1 alternative to services like Inc Authority and Swyft Filings) is a fantastic example of this.

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