Starting a business early in life is something that most people aspire for, especially college students. The urge to earn an extra buck and have a flourishing business is hard to resist. However, the entrepreneurial journey has an assortment of challenges that make these dreams almost impossible.
Launching a startup requires a person’s full attention and this is one of the major challenges that college students face. It is vital to have a plan that will guarantee the success of the business and one’s education. Luckily, there has been a shift from traditional brick and mortar stores to virtual ones that relieve the stress of finding and paying for a physical shop.
Most college students rely on social media and other resources on the internet to reach their target market. This option is ideal for some businesses but not all will thrive depending on the products or services that one is selling. The tips we discuss below will help college students make informed choices when starting a business.
- Set up a website
Setting up a website may sound like rocket science but it is not hard to achieve. The other aspect that discourages college students is the financial implications of creating a website. Free web hosting services are offered by many different companies, so there are many options to choose from. Companies like Wix offer free website hosting that is great for people who are just starting out. However, there are some limitations with free hosting, and usually you won’t be able to make an online store and start selling products without paying, but it is very affordable if you use a website building platform. So, depending on the type of business you want to start, you can either start with a free plan or start by paying a small monthly fee.
- Have a business plan
Most people overlook the need to have a solid business plan. At the ideation stage, things may be looking up until one begins to dive deep into the vital aspects of running the business. There are numerous templates on the internet that one can use to create a plan. The fine print should include the products or services to be sold, the target consumers, mode of delivery, and the budget among other details. From the plan, you can create a to-do list to help achieve the different milestones necessary in order to achieve your goals. Having clear timelines will make it more manageable for you to juggle school work and running a business. The details in the document also make work easier as you can be sure of what you are selling and what your target market is.
- Use campus resources
Numerous resources are available on campus that you can use to reduce the cost of running your business. You need to look around for assets that will be valuable to your business. However, you need to be 100% sure that using those resources won’t end up getting you in trouble. For this reason, you should read through the college’s rules and regulations to confirm that it is safe to utilize campus resources for your business.
Online resources, copy and printing services, as well as free wifi are among the resources that a student can consider using to propel the growth of their business. Collaborating with student organizations in the writing and marketing classes will also help offset or reduce the cost of marketing. Discounts on student software is another realm that one can explore in a bid to reduce the money they put into the business. Also, the library is another resource that students should consider. Books available for business, marketing, and advertising can provide you with vital information for the growth of your company.
- Discover funding options
Funding a business out of pocket in college is one of the top reasons why some businesses do not take off. The community in college and around it has investors looking to put their money on a feasible idea. The finance and scholarship offices have resources that can help students secure loans or grants. An email from such offices improves a student’s chance of getting financial assistance to pursue their business. Sharing the idea with friends and inviting them to be part of the business is another way to find the money required to start or boost the company.
Crowdsourcing events are possible in the campus setting due to the large community and it is one of the most straightforward ways that a student can raise money for their business.
Having a mentor is critical for the success of any business. College students have a large pool to select from. It is advisable for one to find a mentor to hold their hand as they venture into entrepreneurship.