After graduation, many students feel as though looking for work is not the right fit for them. You might also feel as though you have what it takes to become your own boss and, as long as you are prepared to work hard and put in the hours, you can become a success.

In order to start your own business, you will need to look into small business finance in South Africa to suit your needs and draw up a detailed business plan outlining all your ideas, financial goals and how you plan to repay your business loan. Below are some top tips on how to start a small business after graduation.

Find your passion

The very first step to take to start a small business is to find your passion. This might be what you studied, such as media consulting or finances, or it could be something that you are really skilled at, like graphic design or baking.

In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, you need to start off by doing something that you are passionate about. This will ensure that your business will thrive and that coming in to work every day will be an enjoyable experience. So, if you know how to bake the perfect chocolate cake or if you can write a mean PR piece, use this passion to start building your business plan.

Do your research

Now, this might sound like extra studying, but doing research is a vital part of being a business owner. The only way to know if the business idea that sounded like a great plan in your dorm room is viable in the real world is to do your research on the market and the current audience.

Market research is heavily overlooked by first-time entrepreneurs, so use your university mindset and dive right into it before you draw up a business plan. Immerse yourself in the mundanities of your chosen industry so that you have a complete understanding of everything it takes to run your own business.

Create a business plan

Before you apply for small business finance in South Africa, you will need to have a detailed business plan in place. Long-term success relies on long-term research and planning, especially if you want to avoid becoming one of the 96 percent of small businesses that fail within their first decade.

Your business plan should include an executive summary (an overview of the business you want to start), your marketing and sales strategy, a list of your management team and personnel (if you have anyone who will be working with or for you), where and how your business will be operating as well as your financial forecasts. This will show the lender that you are serious about your business and will make it more likely that your loan application is a success.

Has your product been done before?

Before you go ahead with creating your business plan, it is important to look for similar products or services to yours. It is a sad fact that many young entrepreneurs fail out of the gate because they do not perform due diligence and find that their product or service has been done before.

Without knowing what products in your industry are on the market, you will not be able to beat the competition. For example, you might have dreams of becoming a Mexican food truck vendor, but there are probably already a few out there in your neighbourhood. You would know this by performing due diligence, which will allow you to change your business plan and create one that will be more successful.

Figure out your finances

Once you have put together your business plan and done due diligence, you will need to start figuring out your finances. Business funding for small businesses is not as complicated as you might think. You will find that there are many options geared specifically towards small business finance in South Africa.

If you have your own funds available, you can use these to get your business off the ground, but it is a better idea to take out business funding for a small business. This will allow you to save your own money as part of an emergency fund in case something should happen to your business or to you and you are not able to operate as per usual.

  Find your passion, do your research and due diligence, and then work on your business plan in order to build a successful business loan application. Soon enough, you will be opening your own store, creating websites for clients or baking cakes for hungry patrons. Whatever you choose to do, be sure it is something you will enjoy doing for years to come.