A new study from the America's SBDC, which represents the country's small business development centers, shows that millennials are one of the most entrepreneurial generations yet, with more experience with small businesses. It's never been easier to connect with people or find resources to help with growth and accomplishing entrepreneurial goals.
But Tom Portesy, president of MFV Expositions, says that doesn't mean that it always comes easily for them.
Portesy heads up premier franchise events around the world and has more than 20 years of franchise industry experience, and he shared a series of five questions that millennials should ask themselves before jumping into the world of entrepreneurship.
1. Do you have the entrepreneurial spirit?
"True entrepreneurship is a full-time, 24/7 job," Portesy says, and while success as an entrepreneur can be incredibly rewarding, millennials need to be sure that they are ready for the sacrifice that comes with.
"Are you ready for time away from friends/family?," he asks. "Are you ready for rejection, disappointment, failure? Are you prepared for countless sleepless nights - risking everything you've got?"
If you're prepared for the sacrifice, and to make entrepreneurship your life and not just your job, you may be better positioned for longterm success.
2. What are you most passionate about?
It's never been easier to start a small business and promote it, thanks to modern technology, but not all business ideas are created equal.
"There are thousands of business opportunities to pursue," Portesy says, "so narrow your search by passion and aim to align your skill set." Millennial entrepreneurs who follow opportunity without regard for their own interests may find themselves struggling.
"Question the 'why' behind your aspirations," he suggests. Given all the sacrifices that come with starting a new venture, you want to be sure it's something that brings you some level of joy and aligns with your passions and interests.
3. Do you have the money?
"Understanding the total costs is crucial.," Portesy says. Entrepreneurship comes with a lot of financial costs as well as the social and personal sacrifices, and a realistic understanding of your projections is key for growth.
"Before you pursue a new business opportunity, map out the total investment - purchase costs, opening inventory, and how much working capital you will need before you break even," Portesy says.
If you understand the true costs of a opportunities, you'll be better able to evaluate which ones are the right ones and make sure you're planning for the success you envision.
4. Which other small business owners can you learn from?
One of the best parts of starting a business in this day and age is the ability to collect the learnings of those who came before you, and to avoid some of their mistakes.
"Do your due diligence and connect with other small business owners who have succeeded and struggled," Portesy suggests. "Learn about the challenges they overcame and welcome their guidance and best practices."
5. How much support will you have?
"Entrepreneurship isn't a one-man show," Portesy says. The strength of your professional network, personal connections and relationship with other supporters can be the difference between business success and having to close the doors.
"Whether its friends/family, business partners, or a franchisor, understand and set expectations from the on-set."
When you have a clear sense of who can help you, and how, you'll be better able to plot your path to entrepreneurial success.