“Fresh Malaysian graduates are paid less than they were 8 years ago.”
This statement is likely to make more young Malaysians consider the benefits of entrepreneurship as the pay they earn from a traditional 9 to 5 may not be enough to make ends meet.
In its annual report published last week, BNM had found that after adjusting for inflation, the real starting monthly salaries for most fresh graduates have declined since 2010.
The real salaries of a fresh graduate with a diploma and a masters degree holder dropped 5.6% and 7.4% respectively in 8 years, from RM1458 and RM2923 in 2010, to RM1376 and RM2707 in 2018.
These shocking numbers will most likely make more young Malaysians transition from a traditional job to pursue self-employment, all in the name of financial security.
According to the research findings from the School-to-Work Transition Survey (SWTS), conducted by the Khazanah Research Institute, 35% of young workers and 20% of job seekers tend to start their own business. The survey covered 23,785 Malaysians aged between 15 and 29 living in urban and rural areas.
For millennials, to be a salaried worker is no longer the only option for them. They taught to dream big, to be innovative and making their own rules. Some have even said millennials are made for entrepreneurship.
On top of that, technology has made it possible to start a business on a small scale. This also explains the deluge of co-working space that is presently blooming around the region.
The question is, while they have the passion and business ideas, is it enough for them to succeed?
Not everyone can be the next Mark Zuckerberg.
In fact, there are numerous reasons that will force young entrepreneurs to fail, such as the lack of working experience and business network, as well as inadequate financial resources.
So, what should you do if you want to build a business when you’re young?
Understand The Industry You’re Going Into
It’s important that you are passionate about your business but understanding what you do is the critical factor of creating a sustainable business.
A lot of people start with a solution that they want to provide, but they don’t know what issues they’re trying to solve, or who they should be marketing their solutions to. Without that knowledge, the possibilities of failure are higher.
As such, if you want to make your business successful, you must choose what you are familiar with. You have to invest a lot of time to do in-depth research to know the market demand, your target audience and the market competition. So, you won’t simply give up when things didn’t work out.
Only Run A Business When You’re Financially Comfortable
Before you start your own business, you should build a financial safety net that will cover your daily expenses for the foreseeable future.
Either it’s your own savings or a part-time job you can work while you build your business, you need to have that reserve, so you won’t need to worry about your bills and expenses for a while.
It’s possible to still hold on to a job while you start a business unless it infringes your employment contract. Alternatively, you can start a business, and be a silent partner first, so that you still have an influx of cash run your business.
If your business is not sufficiently funded and you do not have sufficient cash for your own requirement, when both of you yourself and business are struggling, you can’t put your full focus, time and attention on growing your business.
Working for companies before you start your own business
Working a steady job prior to becoming an entrepreneur gives you the chance to learn more skills, gain real-world experiences and insights, as well as the knowledge of the business world.
Not only the hard skills and knowledge that you need in establishing or running a business but also the soft skills that include communication, leadership, teamwork and management skills.
When you work for a company, you can build your business networks, such as customers, suppliers, and potential investors, which you need in order to be successful in the future.
More importantly, you should learn from your leaders and managers. They can be your mentors to guide you with their different experiences and skills in solving various issues.
Build a brand for your business and grow customer base
As digital space makes running a business easier, you can build your brand and customer base by using different social media platforms before you invest full-time in your business.
Let me tell you a story of a young lady who is interested in early childhood education. She started with writing blogs to share the ways of how to educate children from infancy.
Not only she does she teach young mothers how to educate their children, but she also sells her handmade educational tools. Slowly, she moved into Facebook and Instagram to build her brand. As a result of that, her followers had increased substantially.
With the strong brand she built and the business potential, she able to get funding from investors. Then she moved from a fully online business into an offline business by opening a child reading and learning centre.
So, what her business story tells you? Start to build your reputation online before you invest huge capital and time into your business.
If you want to be an entrepreneur when you’re young, passion and innovative thinking aren’t enough for you to build a great business. You have to gain experience and develop a certain set of skills in order for you to become a successful entrepreneur.