Writing a business plan is cool and the class discussion probably informative, but that ivory-tower learning doesn’t prepare students much for the world. How do college students become successful entrepreneurs in today’s world? They got to start making things. ASAP.
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“To be a successful entrepreneur, students need to build stuff,” says Nate Berkopec, a developer and write, answering a question on Quorum. “Lots of stuff. Sitting around and talking about it doesn’t count, filling out business plans doesn’t count, winning contests doesn’t count, only shipping stuff counts.”
That doesn’t mean students need to get a successful startup off the ground. Most don’t have the kind of experience to make that happen anyway, but that’s totally OK. Most ideas won’t take off – that’s reality. Schools should teach students to keep trying even if their first, second or twenty-seventh idea fails.
“Contests and classes create a perception that a student’s first venture is their one and only chance to prove themselves as an entrepreneur,” Berkopec writes. “They should, instead, teach students to build, fail and iterate.”
He offers some useful advice for anyone looking to prepare themselves for the world of business.
1. Learn to code. Even if you don’t become an expert, virtually everyone in the modern world needs to know about basic HTML and CSS. Many graduates of top business programs minor in CS.
2. Join a meet-up group. Find others interested in making things to put out to market. Build those connections, swap feedback and learn from your network’s successes and failures.
3. Get plugged in to the local business community. Go to workshops, look into internships (even if there’s no formal program for one), build a network of working entrepreneurs.
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