Ask the Experts

A Time to Buy

Should I get a job after grad school or try to buy my own business?

This question touches everyone dreaming of running their own business after college rather than getting a salaried job. The majority of grads will follow the traditional path in their working lives with a position at somebody else’s company. But owning and managing your own business has both pros and cons as we will discuss.

Studies by Harvard Business School revealed that students planning to seek, buy, and operate a business generally fall into three groups. A third begin looking for a company to purchase after graduation, a third decide that the path is not for them, and a third plan to work for a few years to continue learning and pay off student debts.

Very few actually leave regular employment and create or buy their own businesses. This raises the question on when is the right time to purchase a business. You learn a lot about business working after graduation, but this tends to be at a larger corporation, not a small company.

Amassing capital by working at a traditional job to finance a purchase is an idea shared by many with entrepreneurial aspirations. Experience shows that this is unlikely, with debts, taxes, rent or mortgage, healthcare, and other bills, accumulating wealth during your first years is an uphill battle.

Getting financial support to secure a small business is one option that will test your financial skills. You may have to barter, borrow and beg to get your business off the ground, explain management at firm offering oil painting reproductions, as it is unlikely you will be able to afford one that is already highly profitable.

There is no guaranteed paycheck when running your own business. Being self-employed does offer greater flexibility, but you will probably have to put in more hours. On the upside, this is probably the best stage in your life to take the chance, confide owners at liquidation firm. You have yet to incur financial responsibility when you start a family. If the business fails, you still have time to learn from those mistakes in another venture.

You can still leverage support from your college, professors and alumni. Depending on what business you enter, there could be a huge market with which you are already familiar, college students. Running a business has a steep learning curve, because you have several roles including manager, accountant, marketer and researcher.

There is no real right time to buy a business and working post-graduation does not necessarily make things easier. Entrepreneurship is a multi-faceted endeavor and only you know if you have the necessary skills, determination and experience.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure… Colin Powell.

John Regan is a former Director of Sales for equity research.