Hold my calls. I'm starting a business!

Modified on April 23, 2009
Job security is no longer as important as it used to be in previous generations. In fact, most young people expect to have multiple careers in their lifetimes.

As a result, today's younger workforce is often impatient with bureaucracy and seeks personal and professional satisfaction through entrepreneurial opportunities.

"Building Bridges – New Perspectives on the Nexus Generation", a 1997 report by Royal Bank, Angus Reid Group and d~Code, looked at the desirability of various professions among young people age 18 – 35.

Entrepreneur placed first with a ranking of 32%. The next most desirable profession at 28% was Filmmaker, Artist, and Musician. Executive, Teacher, Lawyer and Doctor each received ratings of over 20%.

This study also discovered that today's young people are comfortable with diversity and adaptable to change. They prefer collaborative work relationships and hold a flexible approach to work.

They believe in the ability to get things accomplished in a fast-paced environment and the capacity to change the way work is done.

Okay, so today's youth are more ready than ever to 'make their own job' by becoming entrepreneurs. What are the key ingredients for success? What are the all-important first steps?

To begin, you should take stock of your personal strengths and weaknesses. All too often, a reason cited for small business failure is weakness in management. Equip yourself with the necessary skills, education, and experience to ensure that you have what it takes to become an entrepreneurial success.

You'll need to be disciplined, curious, open to opportunity, a risk taker, and over-flowing with energy. Starting a business can be very stressful - there's financial pressure, family pressure, and personal pressure to succeed. Be prepared for long hours and sleepless nights.

Flexibility, tenacity, and a willingness to learn from mistakes will help smooth out many of the bumps along the exciting road ahead.

A college or university education is an excellent way to gain knowledge that can be transferred to your career as an entrepreneur. Many post-secondary institutions have expanded their course offerings to include small business management and entrepreneurship.

It is also wise to keep abreast of what's happening in business, consumerism and investment. Access information and support resources from such organizations as the Young Entrepreneurs Association and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.

To further your entrepreneurial experience, consider joining or starting a small business club at your school or in your community. Establishing a support network of advisors early in your career can prove to be a valuable source of ideas, advice and even potential funding.

These advisors can be business professionals, teachers, and other entrepreneurs – people you trust who can fill in the holes in your experience and knowledge.

At the core of every successful entrepreneurial venture is a unique idea. The idea needs to be nourished with personal creativity, extensive market research, and a passion for success. To put the idea into action, you'll need to create an effective business plan.

The business plan will drive the start-up phase. It will be used to sell your idea to outsiders like investors, customers and suppliers. It will also provide structure to your organization and clearly detail your internal goals and objectives.

Be flexible through this phase! Know yourself, your product or service, and your market. When making decisions, always consider the impact on your core business premise. Be open to ideas as this process may uncover new and better ways of thinking about the venture.

In addition to a strong skill set, education, experience and a solid business plan, considerable financial resources are a must in order to build a prosperous venture. A well-developed business plan should identify all start-up costs and be used to secure the necessary financing.

Funding sources include personal savings, 'love money' from friends or family, government sponsored agencies like the Business Development Bank of Canada, commercial banks, private investors, and even some universities and colleges.

Once financing is secured, keep a close eye on costs, avoid going for the quick buck, run a lean operation and recover quickly from unexpected circumstances.

Entrepreneurship is a highly desirable career for many of today's youth. If you have a great idea, a diversity of skills, a willingness to work hard, and boundless energy, running your own business can be a rewarding and exciting career choice.

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