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CT Survey Finds College Grads Eager to Start Businesses, Unsure of How to Do So

Over one-half of recent college graduates want to start a business, rather than join an existing business, according to a recent survey of college grads commissioned by CT and conducted by the Wakefield group.  CT commissioned this study to gauge the entrepreneurial pulse of those that graduated from college in the last 12 months—and found a very strong heartbeat.

Not only were most grads interested in starting a business, one out of five had already done so prior to graduation! Even those who had not yet taken the entrepreneurial plunge were generating potential business ideas. Two-thirds indicated that they’d come up with an idea that they opted not to pursue, most often due to financial constraints.  Despite the prevailing “wisdom” that depicts Millennials as self-absorbed, when asked about the type of business they envision, 15 percent expressed an interest in starting a business in the field of education. Founding a technology start-up (20 percent) or making a foray into the food service/hospitality sector (24 percent) piqued the interest of many others.

The study also revealed that the current wave of college grads were influenced by coming of age in an economy marked by corporate downsizings and outsourcing. Although most felt that getting a job with an existing business, rather than starting a business, would make them feel more secure in the short-term, their view changed when looking ahead more than two to three years.  Even though the economy is seeing some improvement, more than 60 percent of these recent grads felt there was more long-term security in self-employment, not in working for an existing business. 

Interest Is High; Confidence about Mechanics Is Low

Despite the interest in starting a business and the long-term value seen in owning a business, the survey uncovered a confidence and knowledge gap regarding what it takes move from an idea to a viable operation.  When asked which start-up tasks they felt most confident they could handle, the respondents put "coming up with a business name" and "making hiring decisions" at the top—although only slightly more than half expressed confidence in these areas. There was a lack of confidence in other key areas as well. Only four out of 10 felt fully confident that they could write a business plan, which is often crucial to obtaining financing, or market their business. 

Incorporation fell to the bottom of the list, along with tasks like coding a website. Three-quarters of the grads acknowledged that they doubted their ability to properly incorporate a business; only one out of four felt up to this challenge.  And, this lack of confidence appears justified. When presented with a short list of facts about the incorporation process, two-thirds of those polled got at least one response wrong.  Equipping these potential entrepreneurs with the knowledge and confidence to turn ideas into reality will be key to helping small business continue to play a major role in the U.S. economy.

CT has been addressing the knowledge gap between wanting to start a business and successfully incorporating (or forming an LLC) for more than 120 years. With resources that provide information on all areas of business, expert guidance via Live Chat or telephone, and straightforward online ordering, CT is a trusted partner who can help any entrepreneur successfully launching a business.  Watch this blog over coming months as we deliver practical advice and current insights on what it takes to start—and grow—a business.

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