ENTERPRENUER: Why Every Student Should Start a Business

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By Nelson Amobi

9 reasons
to abandon your fear of start-up and launch a business today

With the
economic downturn, students in all the major business schools have been
dropping out of their entrepreneurship classes and transferring back to classes
where they think they have a secure future. Students and professionals who were
once planning to start businesses now have decided to go back to their cushy
jobs. Everything is going back to normal. Or at least that is how it looks. Below
are nine reasons why any student should start a business:

1. You
gain experience. Owning and running your own business is an incredible way to
gain experience and credentials regardless of whether you decide to stay in
business once you graduate. Jaime Gonzalez of Oklahoma State
University received the
highest job offer in his entire graduating class. Now, there are two kickers:
First, he was the founder of an IT consulting company, and second, he had a 2.4
GPA. Hmmm…I wonder if starting a business helps in getting a better job when
you graduate?

2. You have nothing to lose. I think it’s safe to say that most students dip
into their parents’ checkbook when it comes time to pay the bills. In general,
students aren’t paying child support, rent, utilities and many other expenses.
The worst thing that could happen if your business fails is that you get a job,
have an incredible credential on your resume, and have experience that will
increase your chances of success in the future. The best thing that can happen
is that you’ll become the next Microsoft. I don’t know about you, but I think
that is better than choosing between no job and jobs that you’re in just for
the money.

3. Two-thirds of millionaires are entrepreneurs, according to Thomas Stanley
and William Dank, authors of The Millionaire Mind. If it’s the money you want,
then consider entrepreneurship. You receive not only a salary, but also a lot
of money if you’re lucky enough to sell your company or take it public. Michael
Furdyk, a successful young entrepreneur, was able to sell his business,
MyDesktop.com, for $1 million when he was 16 years old!

4. You develop networking skills. You’ve likely heard that your network
increases your net worth. Consider the fact that by running a business and constantly
being in a business community, you will develop excellent contacts. If you
choose to get a job after you graduate, you will have a great pool of people
who will be more than happy to hire you or send your resume to somebody who
wants to.

5. You increase your value. Put simply, starting a business in college
increases the value of “the brand called you” and gives you more
options. For example, an entrepreneur with a large brand value can publish a
book, star in a documentary movie (i.e., Startup.com), or go straight to the
top of another company. I recently met one of the founders of Diversity Planet,
a job site for minorities. He spent a year working very hard on the company and
has since left to take a reporting job with Dateline NBC at the ripe age of 20!
People don’t often don’t get an opportunity like that until they are much
older.

6. Operating a profitable business in the long term is less risky than being an
employee in the long term. For example, just look at the recent economic
downturn. Tens of thousands of people have been laid off. I can guarantee the
owners of profitable businesses are still with the business. They will be the
last people to go down with a ship. Business owners can have multiple streams
of incomes from different customers. If you’re an employee, you only have one
stream of income and therefore are bearing more risk.

7. You will learn more about yourself and what they don’t teach or prepare you
for in school. Furthermore, entrepreneurship is the combination of all the
disciplines of business. It includes knowledge of marketing, accounting,
management and operations. Already having knowledge of these topics before you
take classes on them allows you to see more clearly how everything applies.
Also, you will be able to learn early-on what subjects you like so you can make
better decisions on what to major in and what industries to target.

8. It is yours. You make the rules, create your own hours, work from wherever
you want and choose who you want to work with. You can also pick what interests
you the most in the world and then start a business that is related to that
topic in some way. If you like art, you can start a design business. If you
like marketing, you can create or choose a product and then market it. If you like
writing, you can write a book and do your own public relations and marketing.
If you like the Internet, you can start a Web development business.

9. You’ll grow. I personally have grown a lot from owning a business. I used to
be terrified to speak in front of others. Now I look forward to it. Before
owning a business, I had probably read a total of five books outside of school,
and I only read them because my mom made me. Since starting my business, I’ve
probably read more than 100 books. The business has also allowed me to learn
more about myself. I know that I will be an entrepreneur forever in some way,
shape or form