Traditionally, when someone finishes high school or their post-secondary education, their next step involves combing through the various job sites, often followed by firing out resumes to as many employers as possible. But with little or no practical work experience, this exercise can be the digital equivalent of throwing sludge against a wall, and hoping something sticks.
For a small percentage of us, if we are lucky enough, we might already have a friend or relative working in our desired industry who can help us get a foot in the door. But in reality, simply possessing a diploma doesn't always translate into finding a job right away. What then are some other options that a new graduate might look at?
In recent years, an increasing number of new graduates have made the decision to instead invest in themselves by starting their own business venture. Unlike previous generations who would have had to not only worry about how to galvanise their idea itself, but they probably also had to figure out how to set up a bricks and mortar store or office. Not only a daunting task, but one that would have required a large amount of upfront capital. Today, however, the Internet provides new entrepreneurs with virtual platforms that allow sweat equity and ingenuity to lessen the constraints of getting a new business off the ground successfully.
New business owners can set up virtual store fronts on proven platforms like Ebay or Kijiji, and take advantage of their existing audience, all on a revenue sharing basis. The returns may be very small in beginning, but so too can be the start-up costs relatively speaking.
Previously in this space, the focus of many of my articles were on established businesses who have been taking advantage of digital grass roots marketing tactics and Social Media to attract new customers. But what about businesses who are still in their relative infancy, or at least still trying to prove their concept is viable with scale?
One such venture I came across recently was is called StockJocks. They were started by a group of young Canadian entrepreneurs and were recently featured on CBC's Dragon's Den. (The Canadian equivalent of NBC's Shark Tank.) StockJocks is hoping to capitalize on the huge popularity of Daily Fantasy Sports, an offshoot of Season Long Fantasy Sports. They have created a game that unlike traditional Daily Fantasy Sports, allows Fantasy Players to be able to buy and sell players like someone might stocks on the stock market. As the owners of StockJock talk about during their appearance on Dragon's Den, one possible long term goal for the new venture is to grow larger enough so that they attractive for acquisition by one of the larger Daily Fantasy websites like FanDuel or Draftkings, both of whom have Billion dollar valuations according to an article published in 2015 on Forbes.com. A very different goal than traditional businesses might start with, but a viable one nonetheless.
Like a lot of new businesses, StockJocks hasn't tried to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they believe they have created a game that improves on an existing model, and give its customers another option.
Another example of a new venture taking an existing idea and adding to it, is a company called TO6clothing. A few of years ago when the NBA's Toronto Raptors made it back to the playoffs after a long absence, the NBA franchise executed a highly successful marketing campaign called 'We The North' to celebrate the fact the Raptors were the only Canadian Team in an otherwise American Professional League.
Since that playoff birth, Toronto has seen other celebrities and professional athletes including's The Blue Jays Kevin Pillar and Marcus Stroman dawn 'We The North' ball caps and T-shirts around the city, relaying their own pride for playing for a Canadian franchise. TO6clothing offers Torontonians and Canadians alike, the chance to show their love for their city, affectionally referred to as 'the six' after it's 416 area code.
Whether you are a new graduate, or just someone looking for a change, if you are thinking of starting a new business, its important that you put your idea down on paper. Long before you ever sell a product, or even walk into a bank, you need to write a business plan. This will not only show financiers that you are serious about your venture, but it will also help you to put structure to your own idea.
The Canadian Gov't offers lots of free information online on how to write a business plan. They also can provide details about the different financing options that are available both from the government and the private sector such as crowd funding.
Finally, there may never be another time in your life when you have the option to live at home with your parents rent free. It may not be the sexiest of option within your circle of friends, but it will help to give you the flexibility and stability to build your business slowly, and practically until you can generate a consistent revenue stream. Remember, every great business starts with a great idea, but the successful ones are usually the result of extensive planning and research before it even gets off the ground.
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