Taking Care of Business
With job prospects so precarious,
some students may want to consider owning and operating their own business. What better
place to start researching an idea than on the web?
By Brad Ross
of your students may have created jobs for themselves this past summer or wish they
had. Others may already be looking at starting their own business after graduation.
Whatever the reason, there are many excellent resources on the Internet for teachers who
want to nurture these students creativity a hallmark of the entrepreneurial
While the prophets of business and government tell us that small business is the single
largest job creator in the country, only one in five new ventures ever live to see their
tenth anniversary. Of those that fail, half of them do so in their first two years of
start-up. Poor planning is cited as the root cause.
The net is resource-rich for those considering going it on their own, whether the
business is Internet-based or not. Web sites can direct aspiring entrepreneurs
creative minds to consider important business practices such as financing, market research
and business plan development. They point out the pitfalls, where to turn for inspiration,
and where and how to borrow money.
Use the web for all its worth. A success story may, one day, thank you for it.
PROFIT Magazine bills
itself as the "magazine for Canadian entrepreneurs." And with it comes a fun and
telling test. The Entrepreneur Test is designed to rate your business potential. It claims
there are no wrong answers, but some are clearly more right than others. For example,
under the category of "character," the multiple choice question asks, "In
my spare time I... a) veg in front of the TV; b) work out; c) socialize with friends and
family; d)socialize, work out, watch TV, read a bit of everything; or e) what spare
time? Im running a business here!"
Say what you will
about government; their web sites are generally very good. Theyre content-heavy and
well-focussed, something anyone doing research on-line appreciates. The Ontario Ministry
of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism nails it on both counts with their Youth
Opportunities Ontario web site. Links to starting a business, loan programs and a young
entrepreneurs program lead surfers through the seemingly labyrinth-like steps it takes to
start a business. If the answers arent there, or you cant find them, phone
numbers and addresses of offices that can assist you are prominently displayed.
MoneyHunter Business Plan Template
dreaded business plan. Venture capitalists, banks, government any organization you
approach for financial assistance will insist on a business plan. A business plan
simply tells a story about who you are and what you do. Sure, its all in your head
and you can recite your idea to anyone who will listen. All you have to do is put it in
writing, right? But what if you dont know how? The MoneyHunter web site offers some
free easy-to-use templates for downloading. From there, its a fill-in-the-blanks
process. But remember its just a template; you still need to write, re-write and
proofread your plan until youre satisfied. Sample business plans to get you started
are also found on MoneyHunters site.
|Canadian Youth Business
Young Canadians between
the ages of 1829 are represented by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.
Its billed as "a non-profit, private-sector initiative designed to provide
mentoring, business support and lending to young Canadian entrepreneurs who are creating
new businesses." Well-designed and graphically rich, this site offers a range of
services, ideas and tips for young people. If you have Real Audio, you can hear a series
of clips featuring advice on hiring, attracting media attention and advertising from
business owners across the country. Well worth a visit.
Brad Ross is associate editor of Professionally Speaking and the Colleges
web editor. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.