We celebrated the 2017 AIM graduates last week and look forward to starting a new cohort this week. In a way, these are beginnings for both groups. Our new students are just starting their AIM graduate careers with perhaps some uncertainty as to their new journey. Our newest alumni now have options open to them in terms of discretionary time and they will possibly pursue a passion or career position or even choose to continue their academic journey.
I think we often tie beginnings to specific events such as graduation or a new job or starting a degree program or any number of life events. In reality, we can declare fresh beginnings at any time for any reason. In this blog post I would like to explore ways we can move beyond our self-limitations and break out in new and productive ways.
I have written about this topic before but I feel it is important to revisit. This message is as much for myself as it is for my readers. Beginnings do not have to be large undertakings. It can be as simple as taking a class on something you are interested in that is completely outside of your career field. If you have goals to improve your health and fitness, it is not necessary to run a marathon tomorrow but a simple step would be to get out and walk and enjoy nature. That can lead to other greater goals that could lead to running a marathon someday, or it can simply lead you down the path of better health. Sometimes it takes just simple steps.
One of the dilemmas of a new undertaking is devoting time to it. This could require giving something up. If you are like me, you may have habits and routines and commitments that fill your day. If you were to pursue something new, which of those routines would you be willing to give up? Sometimes this is the hardest part of starting down a new path and requires an examination of goals and values.
Congratulations to all of this year’s AIM graduates. I am proud of your accomplishments and am honored to have played a small part in getting you to the finish line. This is not an ending or a final resting place as such, but a beginning. Take advantage of your new knowledge and relationships that you forged and create the world that you want. Often, it starts with a simple step.
About Kelly Brown
Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.
How do you know when the time is right to start your own business? Surely you have had one of those days in your job where you want to jump ship and start fresh on your own. In this blog, I will explore the three key areas I think need to be addressed before you become serious about pursuing your dream.
Before you give up your day job, make sure that you have a winning plan that will carry you through a period without a regular paycheck. What is it that you do better than anyone else? Do you have an idea for a new product or service that is better than anything available now? It is not enough just to compete, you need to know that you are the best and have the best idea.
Understand that you will most likely work harder than you do at your current job, at least at the outset. A forty-hour workweek will be a luxury that you cannot afford as you get your new business off the ground. Ask yourself whether you are ready and willing to put in the time and effort to start a successful business. Perhaps even more important is this question: Is your family ready for you to start your own business? They will have to sacrifice along side you as you work to make your idea successful. They may even be involved in the business in some respect. Growing up, my father always had a steady job but was a serial entrepreneur when it came to side jobs. I clearly remember sitting around the kitchen table filling, bagging, weighing, and labeling pistachio nuts that my father sold around town. I also remember dragging rebuilt transmissions out of our basement on cold winter nights as part of another business. It is not unusual for some or all of your family to be involved. Are they ready? Are you ready to see it through?
It is a romantic notion to start a wildly successful multibillion dollar business on a shoestring budget, but the reality is you will need some sort of start-up capital to tide you over until you start generating revenue. At first income will go toward offsetting expenses, so you will need to have enough to operate until you become profitable. This could come in the form of personal savings, family savings, loans from angel investors such as family members, or even from venture capitalists if your business is solid enough. Any or all of these potential investors will want to see a business plan. What is your product or service? Who are your potential customers? How large is your target market? How are you going to price your product? When do you expect to be profitable? When will you see a return on your investment? These are all questions that you are going to have to answer in a business plan before they take a chance on you. Passion and an idea only go so far.
There are many other considerations to factor in when deciding whether to start a business but I believe that these are the three most important. Make sure that you can answer these three questions honestly before starting on the journey. Do you have an idea and passion for a new business? Let me know. You may find some supporters or customers among my blog readers.
About Kelly Brown
Kelly Brown is an IT professional, adjunct faculty for the University of Oregon, and academic director of the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at nigh