Tips for Starting your Own Business after College

Jul 4, 2017

The Small Business Administration (SBA) states that 28 million small companies account for over 50 percent of all sales across the country.  Small businesses provide over half of all jobs, so they are the backbone of the economy. College graduates should consider the following entrepreneurial paths for small startups.

General Financial Tips

Always get cash flowing as soon as possible because it is the lifeblood of your business. Professional service business may require deposits for up-front work with the balances due on delivery. Retailers can also do this with layaway plans for expensive items or popular products that need a guaranteed delivery date. Entrepreneurs who serve B2B customers can create continuity programs where customers pay a monthly fee to ensure the availability of high-demand items. Always explore new ways to reduce costs and expenses. When starting out, consider purchasing used or refurbished office equipment and furniture. Paying vendors ahead of time provides leverage for negotiating better prices if you have excellent credit. Financial planning should always underestimate revenues and overestimate expenses.

Hours and Pricing

Carefully consider your hours of operation to maximize the number of customers during the business day. For example, salons do not run on 9-to-5 schedules because they must remain open seven days a week and during major events and holidays. A busy, single parent may only have free time on the weekend when family is watching their children, so be prepared to help customers juggle work and personal demands. When it comes to pricing, high prices will limit the number of customers, but low prices may harm your profit potential and financial stability. The price your local market will bear depends on the demographics and socioeconomic backgrounds of the target market. When setting prices, you must always consider profit, labor, supplies and overhead.

How to Start a Computer Company

First, determine the ideal customer and target audience. A one-person operation is best suited for residential customers. This minimizes marketing costs because this field runs on referrals and world-of-mouth advertising. Residential work is less demanding and the market is quite big, but the competition is fierce and clients tend to be more budget-conscious. Those who target a non-residential market should choose a small niche by focusing on businesses related to banking, education and real estate. A one-person computer company will need to respond to the needs of the clients, which translates to unscheduled home visits and tech support calls after business hours. Establish an appropriate hourly value that includes comprehensive services and preventative care.

How to Start a Heath Care Business

The first step is to accept that health care startups are especially risky and research health care economics. That is, a customer of a health care business, or the person receiving care, usually isn’t the one paying for it or making the decisions.  An unfortunately high amount of doctors and hospitals still use the fee-for-service revenue model, but programs like the Affordable Care Act and Medicare Advantage are moving to a pay-for-value model. Entrepreneurs should create solutions that add substantial value to existing services and products. Leverage technologies that will lower costs and create alternatives to traditional processes. For example, create a secure app or a reliable website that provides patients with virtual access to care and their digital health records.

How to Open a Salon

There are a set number of ways to enter the hair, manicuring and cosmetology industries. First, you can open a recognized franchise that will come with low startup costs, a well-established name and reliable resources. Second, you may purchase an independent salon from someone who is retiring, changing venues or struggling with bankruptcy. Third, you may leverage your own optimism and ingenuity to create your own salon. Fourth, you can take advantage of booth rental salons that include a group of service providers who share the same space. This is actually the easiest option because you gain access to equipment and free advertising while paying a flat monthly fee, buying your own suppliers, setting your own hours and scheduling your own appointments.

It’s also important to improve your business acumen and technical competency through continued professional development. There are various business classes available through technical colleges, chambers of commerce, library seminars and professional organizations. Entrepreneur magazine offers additional tips for small business owners here.