Getting the right start in your business career is essential. It’s easy to find yourself following a lot of false trails, going round in circles, and never really getting anywhere. Although it may seem as though you’ve got your whole life ahead of you and all the time in the world, that time can pass remarkably quickly. It’s important to know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there when you’re still young, and it’s never too soon to begin your business journey.
Before you get going though, take a moment to consider whether a career in business is really right for you. Look at your reasons for choosing this career path. Is it because of family expectations? Do you just see it as a way to make a lot of money? Neither of these reasons is necessarily wrong, but it’s helpful to know just what your goals and expectations are. Where do you see yourself in five, ten, 20 or 30 years?
You need to be sure that you have what it takes. This isn’t to say that you should abandon your business dreams if you’re not confident that you’ll succeed: it’s about looking unsparingly about your strengths and weaknesses, and taking steps that play to the former while improving on the latter. It’s also about deciding whether you will actually be happy in a business career. Don’t assume that making a lot of money will make up for being bored at work. If you don’t love your job, then you won’t have the motivation to make it to the top.
To succeed in business, you’ll need to be self-motivated, analytical, intelligent, meticulous, disciplined, keen to learn and with good communication skills. You’ll also need to be competitive, driven, and able to work well with other people as well as on your own.Be self-critical and really get to know yourself and your behavior patterns. There’s a good reason why many top businesspeople meditate and practice yoga: it helps them to see who they really are and to focus on what they need to do.
What kind of business do you want to go into? It’s good to get as much all-round knowledge and expertise as you can, but you should stay focused on your ultimate goals. Do you want to work for yourself or be part of a big company? Are you drawn towards management, finance, public relations, human resources, sales and marketing, or one of the many other areas that a business career encompasses?
Get an education
There’s much debate about whether you really need a college-level qualification to get ahead in business, but the bottom line is that there are far more advantages than disadvantages, and over 70% of entry-level business jobs require a degree. There are many excellent business schools and colleges offering business-related courses in the US: check out Bryant & Stratton (you can find out more about Bryant & Stratton on Twitter)to see some of the many options they have available. If you don’t want to invest in a full degree,then there are diploma and associate-level courses available. You may also want to go on to do a master’s. Various in-work and online training programs are also available.
Try to get as much actual work experience as possible while you’re studying. This could involve a part-time job or an internship. It’s never too soon to start networking. Your fellow students will remain an invaluable network for you in the future, but this is also your chance to impress your superiors with your dedication and hard work while doing a work placement at a big company. Get your face seen, and take the opportunity to develop different skills and to work in different situations.
Once you start on your career path proper, you’ll have to work your way up doing a variety of different roles. Again, treat this as a series of opportunities, rather than a series of chores. Aim to stay in a job for roughly two years. Once you find that you’re no longer learning anything new, it’s time to move on.
Get up early. Be prepared to give up boozing and partying: your late nights are all going to be at the office. Be fearless: leave your comfort zone and give 100% from day one. Make a good impression. Be generous. Be kind. Have fun. Be innovative and always aim to go that extra mile, whether there seems to be anything in it for you or not. Play the game and play it well, and one day aim to change the rules. There you go: you’re in business.