Some of the world’s biggest companies were founded by bright university students who weren’t afraid to dream big and work hard. Starting your own business while at university could be a great idea since you would have more free time than people in business and more importantly access to resources that support young entrepreneurs. Although it can seem daunting right now, it will be something that you won’t regret doing.
Many successful entrepreneurs have made an early start with their business ventures, the most famous one being Mark Zuckerberg who launched Facebook from a dorm room at Harvard. So you don’t have to wait till you graduate to start your journey as an entrepreneur.
Here we share 5 tips to help you start a successful business while at university.
While you need to spend a lot of time studying to earn your degrees, as a student you still have more free time than you will ever have. But still you might find it challenging to focus on productive things when all you want to do is go to the pub or play video games. If you find it hard to focus you might want to change the environment you work in: go to a coffee shop instead of the library where your friends are for example.
It’s a small price to pay as putting your time in good use will pay off immensely for you in the future. Set yourself targets and deadlines, make yourself a timetable like the one you do for your studies and make sure you complete these tasks to achieve your goals.
Paying attention to market trends and consumer habits is an important part of having a successful business. So make sure to do your own research and take advantage of your campus as your fellow student friends are a great part of consumer structure.
Be mindful of the things they are interested in, buying and doing. What do they need/want? If you can find a way to create the element of desire or solve a problem for them while at university, it’s highly likely that they will continue buying from you even after you leave. And this would be a great customer base for you to start out with.
At university, you are around a huge amount of people every day and you can start by talking to people about your potential products and services and see how they react. If they don’t seem excited about your ideas you might want to rethink your plan.
University is a place where other ambitious students like you come together for the main reason of improving themselves and their futures. That is why it won’t be difficult for you to find like-minded individuals with many abilities who are looking for opportunities to use and develop their skills.
You will meet many students with many different interests different from their area of study so if your business plan requires some specific skills that you don’t have, take this opportunity to reach out to fellow students and start building connections. Who knows, maybe you might find your ideal business partner in the art lab.
Another way is to build your network is getting in touch with your university’s career team and find alumni networks available. You can reach out to alumni entrepreneurs to get their advice and learn from their experiences.
A brilliant business idea probably won’t come to you like a Eureka moment but it will be a slow process where a lot of research and problem-solving process are involved. The success of any business comes from offering a solution to someone else’s problem.
So try to identify what type of products and services that are used every day can be improved and determine your product’s goals and unique selling point which will differentiate it in the market. Instead of focusing on what to sell, focus on what problem to solve. Addressing a certain niche in the market will make it easier for you to build a customer base.
There are many ways to work out funding for your startup which includes entrepreneurship scholarships, angel investors, venture capital firms and even investment from friends and relatives. You need to determine which option will be better for you and your business. You can also ask for help from your university for the best tools available and ways to reach out to contacts that will provide the funding.
Find the events that universities organize where students get the chance to pitch to angel investors, venture capitalists and local entrepreneurs. But make sure to be prepared before going to these events in terms of your business idea and the funding you need.
Be prepared to make sacrifices, especially social and financial ones – instead of spending it on going out every night, spend it on equipment and software. Also, you might have to look for part-time jobs to help you fund your business in the early stages.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your university, friends or your network for any information, equipment or guidance you need. Let people around you know about your project so they will be able to give you a hand or point you in the direction of someone who can.
Starting a business at university isn’t easy but it provides the best building blocks for any future entrepreneur. And it would be a great experience for you to have early in life and prepare you for a great future