RMC senior Donovan Luce creates business selling fishing rods, column by Preston Davenport

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Students leaving college and pursuing opportunities are often left without a clue on what their future holds. Many go after a job, while others put together something of their own. Fluctuations are inevitable in the economy as job availability will rise and fall.

People look to start their own small business as a means to ride the waves of the economic storm. While there is more risk and responsibility associated with an entrepreneurial endeavor, any good idea can take off. All it takes is the first step.

The definition of an entrepreneur is someone who organizes and operates a business. What often keeps people from pursuing a business idea is the greater financial risks. Above all, business is a constant learning experience with a humbling lesson around every corner. An open mind, a positive mindset, grit, and a touch of cynicism are important traits to have when taking steps into the world of business.

Donovan Luce is a student at Rocky Mountain College and an aspiring co-business owner of a pre-production line of walleye fishing rods. Luce initially grew up in the business world, with direct family members owning their own businesses. Aside from family, he looks for advice and drive from others, including Professor Scott Severance. Luce’s pre-production business is called Reel Sports Montana Performance, or RSM Performance for short.

RSM rods“What initially inspired the idea was my love for fishing and realizing the lack of attention most companies give to regular walleye fisherman” Luce said.

This is not Luce’s first business venture, as he initially founded a sporting goods retail website with the familiar name of reelsportsmt.com.

What makes business ownership unappealing, and sometimes scary, is the lack of guaranteed success. What ruins most businesses beyond start up, is the lack of a well laid out plan. Business professor Scott Severance shared these statistics with one of his classes that each year 11 percent  of business start-ups have a plan, 27 percent have a partial plan, 38 percent barely have a plan, and 62 percent of business start-ups have no plan at all. Professor Severance gave the resonating statement that “hope is not a strategy.” The most important thing is to approach the learning curve proactively, and to make up for your own incompetencies with competent peers.

Luce went on to say, “I think every aspiring business owner needs to be both very determined and patient. Every step of starting up a business tends to take extremely long.”

The true nature of business shows  that many factors are beyond the control of the business owner. Preparation of an idea and presenting it to a bank to receive funding is a process that can take months, and sometimes years, before any changes come to fruition. Patience is a challenging aspect.

“The finance part of starting a business was not necessarily the hardest part, but most definitely the most stressful and annoying part since I worried about it every second,” Luce said.

Tthoughts-of-an-entrepreneur-2593he bottom line is nothing worth having comes easy. Owning a business often begins with a large step outside of your comfort zone and into a world of uncertainty.

“The advice I would give to other entrepreneurs in Billings is that if you have an idea, you better send it because nobody will wait up,” Luce said.

Entrepreneurship is a dynamic environment to step into, filled with ambitious goals. The best way to reach them is to set modest expectations at every step. George Leonard once said: “When you’re climbing a mountain, be aware that the peak is ahead, but don’t keep looking up at it. Keep your eyes on the path. And when you reach the top of the mountain, keep on climbing.”

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