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October 1, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Idiot’s guide to a successful business

Now that it is near the end of what I hope has been a successful year for you, I imagine you’re beginning to think about your future. This may be your first year at Uni, or your seventh. (Regardless of what you believe, if you spend more than seven years at University, you’re not there to learn, you’re just scared of leaving). But you can’t stay at Uni forever. So you might be thinking about what direction your life may take. This column will hopefully give you at least one option: Running a successful business!

A lot of people who study business leave university and get straight into trying to open their own bar. They do this because they enjoy alcohol. They remember all the times when they had fun at the pub. They were studying business, so… obviously weren’t spending too much time at the library. And who can blame them, where else do you get to sexually harass the opposite sex, sing loudly and extremely badly along to cliché New Zealand music and take your shirt off simply because you can!

What business studies students fail to realise is that times change. What is trendy in your bar one year will gross people out in two or three years’ time. They usually make a shitload of money in between the success and the downfall, so who am I to judge. But running a bar isn’t as easy as it may appear to be. You have to organise a group of losers, stupid enough to pour patrons’ alcohol, while they stand behind the bar and watch them have fun. You have to buy heaps of alcohol in advance, full well knowing that other people will drink it, and then make sure people aren’t breaking your flash bar stuff every day of the week. It’s not like drinking at home with your dad.

Now normally, you idiots would be considered “the stupids”, but not when it comes to boozing! It’s actually the smart arse study geeks who get jobs in bars, because they believe that they will get ahead in life by paying off their student loan while they go. WRONG. Student loans are paid off in lump sums by BCom students and in small weekly payments of the bare minimum by BA students, but never during school years, Fact.

If you are keen to get into a business straight out of school, then you really ought to have done a design degree. Those guys pretty much colour their way to a career without really trying. Don’t get confused, design students aren’t very special, it’s just because commerce students, who grow up to become highly paid CEOs, forgot how to sprinkle sparkles a long time ago, and will pay anyone top dollar to do their homework/building design for them.

Now a handfull of you must be sitting there, with your impending BScs asking “What about me!” and rightfully so. The only business you’re going to begin is… no sorry, I can’t lie to you. You will never start a successful business. You may join a farm-a-suit-a-cool company, but you’ll never climb the ladder to the top. They really should tell you you’re basically forfeiting your dreams when you first stumble into BIO114. But then again, you wouldn’t want to start a company, would you? Nerd.

Guys, talk to your friends about their ideas and possibly starting something together; that way, you’ll have to do less work in the long run. Once you have formed the New ‘A’ Team, or Mighty Ducks, then you can decide what business you want to tackle. I’ll tell you what, nobody out of University ever starts a Garden Centre. A survey of all Garden Centre owners in New Zealand revealed that not a single Garden Centre owner in New Zealand had a degree![ apart from the ones that have horticulture degrees, ed] Maybe you guys should think about breaking that trend. You could try an adventure tourism venture. Kiwis seem to think that adrenaline is the answer to everything. Giant rubber hamster balls rolling down hills was a great idea, but unfortunately, it’s been done. If you do want to try A.T. then start by trying to mix two things that seem to be opposites, like canoe-snowboarding, zorb-mungee or free fall Karaoke.

Failing all the original ideas, go for a foolproof plan: build a Subway at any of New Zealand’s many airports; start a tour bus which will take patrons to all the Lord of the Rings locations Peter Jackson doesn’t want you to know; or sell sea shells at the sea shore. Honestly guys anything can make you money these days, you’ve just got to keep your eyes open.

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