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Getting No Respect?

You're still a student, but by being polished, poised and professional, you can get the respect you deserve as an entrepreneur.

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This story appears in the February 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

"You're too young." "You can't possibly understand the workings of this business." "Call me in a few years." These are all refrains you might be hearing as a young college entrepreneur--or they could be the words you fear you'll hear once you start up. While it's true that some people will doubt your entrepreneurial abilities simply because of your age, there are ways to pump up your respect quotient without sacrificing the excitement of being a young entrepreneur.

First, say experts, make sure you're an authority on both your business idea and the industry in which you hope to make your mark. You can never do too much homework in this area. "You've got to demonstrate that you really understand the problems, challenges and rewards of the venture you're proposing," says Stan Mandel, director of the Angell Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Obtaining industry experience in any capacity will help you gain credibility, notes Mandel.

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