Monday, January 24, 2011

Get a Jump on Starting a Business while in College. Intern or Apprentice!

Here's a response I had for a couple of college students who told me they wanted to start a business after they graduated and what could they do now to prepare. I know I target my blog to current business owners but I like to occasionally "speak" to others who are considering a business start-up.

So, here's my response:
Any general business degree will serve you well, whether it's business management or business administration. If you have an interest in a specific area such as marketing, accounting, or finance, then pursue that and make sure the rest of your requirements provide a well-rounded business education. When you run a business, you must know something about every area of the overall business: how to entice customers (marketing and public relations); how to manage the books (accounting); how to pursue and obtain loans or investment (finance); how to recruit, hire, train and manage employees (human relations or HR); how to make sure the business runs smoothly (operations). You can't possibly know how to do everything well, but you should develop a basic understanding of what's involved in each area. You can then hire or outsource to have others handle those duties as the business grows.

Regarding specifically opening a gym, my only other recommendation would be to locate gyms you like and speak with the owner or general manager about getting a job there. Tell them you'd like to learn the business and apprentice so it doesn't matter where you start. You never know, you could find an owner who eventually sells you his (or her) business...or who may help you start one elsewhere. At the very least, you combine a good university education with the hands-on practice obtained while working at the gym. Essentially, this way you create your own internship/apprentice program.

Of course, for those interested in other types of business, the same advice applies. Just switch out "gym" and replace it with the business you aare interested in.

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