As an entrepreneur, you are likely running your own show or have a couple of good employees to rely on. What you have probably learned is that good people are in short supply. Whatever your situation, you likely need more resources, but might be strapped by finances to invest in full-time help.

But knowledgeable, motivated and affordable resources may not be as far off as you think. In every business college whether in undergraduate or graduate programs there is always a class on entrepreneurship. Most likely, you have even taken that class! Now it is time to tap into these bright young minds.

Business students can actually serve as an extension of your company through an ongoing assignment that meets your business need. Not only are they willing, they are more than able. Their idealism may help inspire you to see what is possible and similarly, you can share your real-world experience to help them learn.

Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Clearly define your business need. By yourself or with your other employees, craft a list of your three top business issues, challenges or problems that you are struggling with as an entrepreneur. List next to those challenges the solutions you have employed to date.
  • Create a proposal. With these challenges and already employed solutions, create a 1-2 page proposal that describes how you would like to engage young business students in coming up with potential solutions.

One idea is to plan a competition to seek out the individual or group with the greatest potential to succeed in the entrepreneurial work force in the future. Students are judged on criteria such as originality, creativity, business return and innovation. The grand prize could be the opportunity to shadow you and your business or actually come to work with you as an intern. Regardless, your tasks for them will be a part of their grade.

  • Contact your local college. Whether a community college or large university, professors are always looking for local experts to lecture or provide innovative ideas for curricula.
  • Once invited, follow through. Commit to this. Make yourself available to the students on a regular basis, via e-mail or phone. It is not only free help, it ‘s giving back to your community, which will likely provide you with solid referrals and an enhanced reputation in your community. You are helping young people build their careers, as someone likely helped you when you were starting out. It is a win-win for everyone.
  • Plan a post-mortem session with your faculty sponsor. Schedule time after the project is completed by the students to debrief with your faculty sponsor. Review what worked and what didn’t, from both of your perspectives. This is the perfect time to offer suggestions for next semesters involvement and will continue the relationship dialogue.

The challenge will always be to find great people and then to inspire and empower them. You can be the person that not only inspires, but teaches the skills to deliver results as an entrepreneur.

For more resources on entrepreneurship, visit  http://entrepreneurs.suite101.com.

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