Monday, March 21, 2011
Despite big business getting all the attention, our economy runs on small business. And small business comes from entrepreneurs.
If a student wants to be an entrepreneur, what should she do? First, there is no need to wait. There is no minimum age limit to start a business or even a corporation.
Just like you can't learn to program without doing some programming, if you really want to learn about starting a business, start a business! You've got the summer off, start a business. You've just taken a week off for spring break. You could have started a business. You have some free time in the evenings that you piddle away watching Dancing with the Stars. You could start a business. Not only will you learn about entrepreneurship, you can make some money!
Summer business: My son made a bundle in high school during the summer by mowing lawns. But it wasn't just regular lawn mowing. He went around to realtors and asked if they had unoccupied houses that needed their lawns mowed. By going to realtors, he minimized the number of people he had to sell to and could maximize his time cutting grass, or hiring others to cut the grass.
Spring break business: Hey, you don't want to start a business during spring break! You want to go skiing with your buddies, right? Well, you and your buddies have to get there and you have to stay somewhere and you have to eat something. Ron, a friend of mine in college, used to arrange all that stuff, get a gang to sign up and pay for his trip and then some. He went skiing and had a spring break business.
TV time business: Often the computers on the shelf have not exactly the right components for the buyer's needs. I don't need that expensive graphics board because I don't play games. You don't need that huge disk because all you do is play games. So, custom assembled computers let us both mix and match the components we want and get exactly the computers we need. Sticking components into a computer motherboard is something that can literally be done while watching Dancing with the Stars (best of both worlds?) And that's what Mike started doing in his spare time in college. It worked out pretty well for him. It became Dell Computer.
If you're interested in learning how to start a business from scratch, I recommend Mike Michalowicz' The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. It's full of good advice about how to start a business with next to nothing. It's also full of scatological humor as the title indicates which I don't find appealing, but if you're a kid in high school, you might love it.
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