At the college level, students are already thinking about income post-graduation. Whether they intend to earn their income as professionals or business people, the college environment offers an opportunity to test this potential. For those inclined to business, college is one huge market for virtually any type of goods or services.
Testing a business idea using college resources and networks is an excellent way of getting insights into how to become a business owner in the open market. A successful college business can be carried on beyond this market and into the mainstream, much like Facebook did. Here are a few tips on starting a business in college.
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Identify the need and provide solution
It is not enough having a great business idea and even resources to execute it if no one else needs it. In other words, identify customers for your expected business and, in fact, sell the idea to them before production.
Introduce your concept as a product to fellow students and induce demand for it before moving into production. With an assured customer base, you will invest your money and time on actual sales and your business will have started on a road to success.
Pitch your product through effective messaging
You have identified potential clientele and the product you want to sell. Now, bring the two together through targeted messaging. Create an attractive brochure for your product and circulate this among prospective customers.
Social media is currently the most powerful marketing tool available. Everyone in college is on either Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp, and circulating your brochure on these platforms guarantees maximum reach.
Accompany brochure with catchy and relevant captions or short commentary to interest your prospective customers. Face to face interactions with immediate audience on campus is equally effective and should be vigorously undertaken.
Balancing schoolwork and business on campus
Now that you have got all your ducks lined up and your business has kicked off successfully, do not forget what brought you to college in the first place.
You have to find a way to balance schoolwork and your newfound business so that neither suffers adversely. Can you run the business remotely without physical presence and less time? If not, can you hire help?
A student in business needs to ask these questions if they value both choices. You could be at that stage of your course that requires heavy research and essay or dissertation writing. This needs loads of time and concentration that you might not have. Online writing service Edubirdie helps with dissertations for those pressed for time. The services by expert writers also include thesis writing and college essays.
Collate data and create projections
The first few months will involve customer outreach and this interaction will help you collect relevant data to guide your venture. Through feedback, you will project likely sales volumes and, thus, viability. There will be possible criticism of the product and there will be suggestions that will help you improve even before production.
Equally important, you will get an indication of acceptable pricing. This should help you adjust production cost appropriately to leave you a worthwhile profit margin.
You can use this data to approach investors if the business indicators promise growth beyond your initial capacity. Data and experience gained here can be useful when starting business after college should you decide to try another line.
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How do you finance the business?
Business ideas for college students are many but the lack of finance always poses a problem. The next step is to raise necessary funding to start production. The entrepreneurial news is that most colleges have encouraged student entrepreneurship through multiple programs. They run incubator programs that provide advisory services to such budding entrepreneurs and a link to possible external funding.
As part of the curriculum, colleges may also organize business concept competitions with good prize money for winners. Alumni are another source of business funding or partnership a student entrepreneur might consider. Corporate scholarship funding is an excellent alternative if you qualify or win through competitions and it comes interest-free.
The world’s greatest businesses Microsoft and Facebook started in college and carried on into the mainstream, succeeding beyond all expectations. Yes, any student with business acumen and the right idea can start a successful business in college.
The college also offers many advantages for startups with little capital. At college, you get certain free resources like well-stocked libraries, online resources, and free Wi-Fi. Labs, workshops, and conference rooms are easily accessible besides staff and fellow students willing to help. You can join the millionaire club long before graduating from college!
Emma Rundle, recent university-topper dons many hats. She works as an academic writer and editor for an online assignment service, works as a freelance journalist for a news magazine and runs her own career blog. She also provides online translation help as she knows five other major languages than English.