TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A recent article in The Wall Street Journal discussed the almost insurmountable problems new entrepreneurs may face when they graduate with a crushing burden of student loans. GTE Financial has advice to help avoid or minimize some of these problems.
"With student loans now accounting for nearly 9 percent of consumer debt, this is a very real issue that could well put a damper on future innovation in this country," says Shamus McConomy, vice president of member business services at GTE Financial. "We think it's important to provide additional information and options to help tomorrow's entrepreneurs get started earlier and with fewer impediments."
Following are some of the tips McConomy offers:
- Reconsider getting a graduate degree if you have entrepreneurial aspirations. "You're going to hire yourself regardless of how many degrees you have, so why accumulate additional debt?" he says.
- If you begin considering your idea while still studying for a degree, enter every business plan competition you have access to. You'll be able to take advantage of vetting and advice from industry and business experts who can help you avoid many typical startup mistakes.
- Apply for internships with businesses in the same space as your business idea to get firsthand knowledge of what works.
- Many communities have small business incubators, and a number of them are located at universities. They can help coach entrepreneurs and even assist with advice about financing.
- Incubators and Small Business Development Centers offer a wide range of free and low cost seminars, many on topics that are designed for first-time entrepreneurs, such as how to develop a business plan, deciding on the right type of business entity, protection of intellectual property and many more.
- Take the time to develop a strong business plan and work on getting an SBA loan that includes working capital, which can be used to help pay living expenses while the business is getting off the ground.
- Find investors (often Friends and Family Financing) who can help with seed money that can be used to help pay the bills until the business begins to generate revenue. Just be sure to keep a majority ownership.
- Take a part-time or evening job that allows you to spend a majority of your time on the business while still providing income to pay the bills and pay off student loans. Once you go for the high paying post-college job, you tend to lose the flexibility (and time) to work on your own idea.
"There are a number of good community support options for entrepreneurs of all ages, but we want to be sure we are exposing new entrepreneurs to them early enough to avoid the burdens of oversized student loan debt," says McConomy. "In the end, this is an investment in our country's future."
About GTE Financial:
GTE Financial is a not-for-profit financial cooperative with more than $1.6 billion in assets and 21 Community Financial Centers located throughout West Central Florida. Chartered in 1935, GTE Financial is locally owned and operated in the Tampa Bay area, serving more than 200,000 individuals and businesses. More information on GTE Financial can be found at www.gtefinancial.org.
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