How to Start a Business in College
There’s no reason why you can’t start your career while you’re still in college, especially if you have an entrepreneurial spirit. Bill Gates and Paul Allen (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Matt Mullenweg (WordPress), Britton Hadden and Henry Luce (Time Magazine) and many others started their ventures while still in college.
You can start your business while you’re in college, as well. It’s not easy to juggle classes, assignments, tests and business tasks, but it’s not impossible either. So, go ahead and start thinking how to launch a home-based (or dorm based as the case may be) business. By the time you graduate, you might be ready to expand while your contemporaries are just getting started.
Here is how you can give wings to your dreams today.
Create a Business Proposal
In order to start a business, you need an idea. Though you may be tempted to take up an idea you think will be a big money maker, this is not always the best step. Many experts suggest choosing a business idea that you’re passionate about or at the very least know about. Passion, more than profit, will keep you going when you’re facing challenges in your business. So, think of your favorite hobbies and interests, and how you can turn them into money.
Once you know what you want, you need to create a business plan. This sounds daunting but there are many business proposal templates and resources online to help you. In your proposal, describe your idea, how you’ll apply it in the real world, the target audience you are aiming at, your budget etc. The business proposal isn’t just your roadmap to success. It’s a great way to get resources and help from others.
Get a Mentor
A mentor can help you reach success sooner while helping you avoid pitfalls. The best thing about being in college is access to many resources, such as professors review your proposal and provide the input. Seek out someone on campus who can push your creativity, guide you through the business startup process, and offer support when you feel like giving up.
Enroll in Business-Related Courses
Colleges offer many resources to help you learn the information and skills you need to build a business. Refer to your business proposal and find courses that can help you put your proposal in play. If you’re not sure, consult your mentor or other experienced people for some insight.
Courses to consider are management studies, accounting, communication skills, market research etc. If there is a course related to the business you want to offer, be sure to take that as well.
Pull Together Start-Up Funding
While there are free and low-cost home business options, even those can benefit from financial investment. So, before you take the plunge, plan out your budget. Find out the different ways you can fund your business startup.
Not only do you need to have startup money, but you need to calculate how much it will take to run your business and what you need to make, with a focus on spending less while earning more.
Become an Intern
An internship will give you a sneak peek into how organizations operate. Internships not only offer hands-on experience, but you can also get college credit and sometimes, you can get paid. Look for businesses that work or have a need for interns in the same field as your business idea.
Learn Social Media as a Marketing Tool
Odds are, as a college student, you’re well-honed into social media. However, it’s a bit different when used as a marketing tool. First, learn how to use social media for networking. This can help you find a mentor, new clients, and partners. Next, focus on the social networks that cater to the market or clientele you’re looking for. Don’t forget to add this to your business proposal template.
Learn to Cope With Failure
The path to success is not easy. You’ll face obstacles and hurdles that will lead to frustration and failure. When you start your business you’ll find things don’t always go as planned. You might not get the money you need, people might reject your business, or you find it difficult to juggle between your business and studies. When this happens, you may feel the urge to give up, but you can’t quit.
Before you begin, develop a positive success attitude that readies you for all types of problems that may come your way. Read inspiring books of entrepreneurs and attend lectures for added motivation.
Starting a home business is definitely not a child’s play; however, it’s not an impossible task either. All you need is a great idea, some planning and preparation, and a will to succeed.