4 Tips for College Students Starting a Business

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.

Javid Javdani, a Fully Trained and Licensed Pharmacist, Explains How He Expanded His Professional Horizons by Opening a Series of Small Businesses

Javid Javdani is an American success story. Currently a professional pharmacist, small business owner, and entrepreneur based in San Diego, California, Javid worked hard to forge a life for himself after he escaped from Iran in the wake of the Islamic Revolution. Attempting to make the best of the situation, Javid moved to the United States as a teenager in 1982 to seek out new opportunities. Throughout high school, he took on various jobs to support himself and save for his post-secondary education. By working at a car wash, a gas station, and a few restaurants, he learned valuable lessons about hard work and self-reliance, as well as one or two things about how to run a business. Javid Javdani went on to earn a degree in chemistry from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, then a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific. He became a licensed pharmacist in 1994.


Upon entering the professional world, Javid found work as a pharmacist rewarding, but he also nursed a burning desire to create his own enterprise. After a few years working at a hospital pharmacy, he learned that a small grocery store was up for sale in his neighbourhood, whereupon he decided to embrace his entrepreneurial spirit and buy the business. Success came quickly as Javid revamped the shop to appeal to many of the local ethnic communities by stocking a wide variety of international products previously unavailable in the neighbourhood. In the years since, Javid Javdani has expanded his holdings to include a restaurant and catering business. He now works only a few days each week as a pharmacist, dedicating the remainder of his time to operating his other businesses.


Why did you decide to create your own business?

I was already a pharmacist when I decided to try my hand at running a small business. To be honest, I just happened to drop by my local grocery store to pick up a few items one night when I learned the owners were putting it up for sale. I was immediately struck by a bolt of inspiration—why not buy the place? So, that’s what I did. It wasn’t quite what you’d call an ‘impulse purchase’, but it was pretty close. I thought about it for a few days and consulted with my family before putting in an offer. Luckily, it was accepted. After that, I never looked back.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

There aren’t too many commonalities between being a pharmacist and running a grocery store, restaurant, and catering company, but one big one is that I get to interact with a wide variety of people from a very diverse set of circumstances. My neighbourhood in San Diego is populated with folks who hail from virtually every corner of the planet, and they all need medicine and food. I love meeting and talking to them. I love making their lives better. As a pharmacist, I do that by dispensing them the medicine they need to survive and make their lives manageable. As a grocer, caterer, and restaurateur, I do that by providing them with nourishment and playing host to the special moments in their lives. Countless couples have gotten engaged in our restaurant over dinner, and our catering company is often retained to cook feasts for anniversaries, birthday parties, graduations, and holidays.

What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

With regards to the pharmaceutical industry, I would tell them to study as hard as you possibly can. It’s a tremendous responsibility dispensing medication to people. You hold their health—and many times, their very lives—in your hands. So, with that in mind, don’t coast through school. Learn everything you’re able to, even if it’s not on an exam. And stay on top of new developments in the industry.

With regards to running a small business, I would tell them to, if possible, retain the services of a trustworthy accountant, bookkeeper, and lawyer. The services these professionals provide will more than pay for themselves as the years pass. I realize that a large percentage of small businesses probably won’t have the budget for this kind of thing in the first few years of operations, but once it’s a viable option, it should be done right away. It will prevent a lot of headaches and save a lot of money.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned managing your business?

I’ve learned that it’s never bad business to be nice to people. That is to say, be civil and respectful to everyone. Engage them in affable conversation. Wave to people. Smile. Ask them about their families and friends. Share a joke. Besides the fact that it’s the right thing to do and that it will enrich your life as well as theirs, it also makes sense from a marketing standpoint. If people form an emotional attachment to you, they’re far more likely to become loyal customers and tell others to patronize the business. What I don’t mean by saying “be nice to people” is to  let people take advantage of you, financially or otherwise. That’s an entirely different matter altogether.

How have your businesses grown from their early days to now?

When I bought the grocery store, it only catered to the local Persian population. Because of its location—it’s smack dab in the middle of a slew of neighborhoods that include many ethnicities—I realized pretty quickly that we were missing out on some surefire business by not carrying certain specialty items. So, my first big decision was to stock foods from Eastern Europe, Russia, Korea, China, and Mexico, too. That widened our customer base significantly. Soon after that, all the increased business and food traffic prompted me to expand the square footage of the store. Since then, I’ve opened my restaurant and my catering company. In retrospect, my businesses have grown a lot more than I anticipated.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Earning my Doctor of Pharmacy was a big deal for me. It ushered in my professional life. I remember walking up and accepting that diploma all decked out in fancy academic robes. That was one of my happiest moments, for sure. But right up there with it was the day we re-opened the grocery store under my ownership. We spent weeks and months preparing for that. That first morning when I flipped the ‘closed’ sign on the interior of the front door over to ‘open’ was so exciting. It gave me a special feeling.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

I kind of learned how to manage a small business on the fly. I have no formal training in that respect. So, I think I made some amateur errors, especially in the early days of the grocery store. My procedure for taking inventory, ordering supplies, and keeping track of everything was pretty sloppy until at least my second year as an owner. In order to overcome that, I sought out guidance from some more experienced shop owners, and they set me straight.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

“Say what you mean, and do what you say.” A wise family member told me that one day when I was fairly young—though not so young as to not understand how important a statement it was. I have tried to abide by that advice every day since I first heard it. To me, it’s among the best ways to make sure that your words and deeds are honest and honorable.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

I would wholeheartedly endorse the statement I used for the answer above: “Say what you mean, and do what you say.” In the business world, there is nothing quite so valuable as knowing you can trust someone’s word. As a peripheral benefit, if you consistently practice that wise piece of advice, you will inevitably cultivate a good reputation amongst the people you deal with, which is useful when asking for customer loyalty, employee loyalty, credit, or favors of any kind, really.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

I have long-term plans for expansion and diversification. In 5 years, I hope to have a few more locations for the restaurant, and maybe to go regional with it. I’ve been thinking about increasing the square footage on the grocery store again, too. I’ll probably put another addition on it so we can carry more products and serve more customers at a time. I might eventually phase myself out of my role as a pharmacist, but in all likelihood, I’ll still be practicing in 5 years. I like it too much.

An Interview With Daniel Yomtobian About the Highs and Lows of His Career in the Online Advertising and Venture Capital Industries

Daniel Yomtobian’s first experience in the professional world was a job working at Von’s supermarket at the age of 17, while still in high school. At the time, his plan for a career was to work hard and earn promotions within that organization, eventually becoming a store manager, and later a district manager. However, this plan was disrupted when fate intervened and Daniel learned that a close family friend had become a professional web designer during the early days of the internet. He talked with the family friend and the resulting conversation inspired him to enroll in a two-day tutorial on web design. Daniel completed it and learned this exciting and—at the time—new trade, whereupon he began offering his services in web design professionally. As that was taking place, Daniel began buying and selling uniform resource locators (URLs) to companies and individuals seeking to stake their claim to specific online domain sites. This practice ignited his natural inclination for entrepreneurship.


Currently, Daniel Yomtobian spends most of his time overseeing daily operations at Bian Capital, his recently-founded private venture capital firm. Operating out of Los Angeles, California, Bian Capital invests in technology-oriented businesses all over the United States and prides itself on being a creative, dynamic, ‘roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-involved’ kind of investment firm. Beyond that, Daniel is an avid philanthropist, always on the lookout for new and effective charities and nonprofits to support.


Why did you decide to create your own business?

As a teenager, my ambitions were modest to say the least. I worked at a grocery store and I was really content. I thought I would spend my career there. I thought I would work my way up through the ranks to eventually obtain a management position, and that would be my profession through adulthood. Luckily, thanks to the advice of one of my father’s friends, I took a course in web design in the early 90s, before it was a really popular thing to do. Basically, I got in on not quite the ground floor of the internet boom, but really close to the ground floor. After I realized there was some serious cash to be made in buying and selling web domains, I went into business for myself. Everything I’ve done as an entrepreneur since then has sprung from that one choice.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

I love how fast-paced and exciting it is. I love how you constantly have to post up victories or close up shop. I realize that such conditions wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but in my case, it fuels me to excel.

What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?

If they were looking to break into online advertising, I might tell them to reconsider. It’s not like the old days where there was room in the market for brash startups. These days, four companies control the vast majority of online advertising. If you’re not associated with Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, or Google, competing is next to impossible.

If they were looking to break into venture capital, I would say that there is no such thing as conducting too much research. The more you know about the companies that you’re considering for investment, the better. Get to know them intimately.

What keeps you motivated?

The idea of bettering humanity in some meaningful way keeps me motivated. Now that I’ve achieved a degree of personal success that provides more than adequately for my family and myself, the next logical thing for me to do with my money is use it to help heal society. I’m always on the lookout for new charities and nonprofits to support. One cause that holds a special place in my heart is working with the homeless and other financially disadvantaged people in order to get them three square meals a day, a sturdy roof over their head at night, and a genuine shot at finding a job and, hence, a way out of the poverty cycle. That means a lot to me because my family wasn’t very fortunate when I was young. I understand a little bit about that issue because, to some degree at least, I lived it.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned managing your business team?

The most fundamental thing I’ve learned is to hire trustworthy, honorable people to work for me. Everything else can be taught, but those two traits are essentially innate. So, the real trick becomes determining who’s trustworthy and honorable—but I found a bunch of wonderful people like that over the years, and I’ve  hung on to them for dear life! They’re worth their weight in gold.

How has your company grown from its early days to now?

It’s come a long way. Frankly, it started out as just myself, a computer, and a dial-up connection. Now, through Bian Capital, we literally use pools of millions of dollars to fund the development of new companies if we think that they hold promise.

If you could change 1 thing you did in the beginning of your career what would it be?

I would’ve dreamed larger dreams as a teenager than simply becoming a regional manager for a grocery store chain. It worked out in the end, but I still look back and marvel at my small-scale thinking.

How do you maintain a work life balance?

From time to time, that balance can tip a little too far over in favor of work. But I’m working on that problem! One step I’m trying to take right now is ignoring my phone after the supper hour and on the weekends. I won’t lie, I find it a bit difficult, but I’m making progress!

What traits do you possess that make you a successful leader?

I think one thing that differentiates me from other corporate leaders is that, sure, now I’m the boss, but I also have a personal history of being an employee pretty far down in the pecking order. I know how that feels. I can actually relate to that. As such, I think I have a special bond with all my employees, not just the high-flyers and the up-and-comers. On top of that, I’m a positive person and I motivate people to do their best. Those are both critical traits in a successful leader.

What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome?

My parents divorced when I was fairly young. That affected me pretty deeply in a bunch of different ways that weren’t exactly positive. However, as I grew older, I realized it was for the best. Divorce was actually the preferable alternative to them both being miserable and arguing all the time, especially in the way that it affected the rest of the family. My mother and father get along much better with each other these days.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ The Golden Rule always applies.

What is one thing you would change in your industry today if you could?

If I had the power—which I obviously don’t—I would break up the big tech oligopoly of Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. The fact that startups can’t compete effectively against them and are usually either bought up by one of those four companies or run out of business is not healthy for the industry, and it’s not, frankly speaking, how American capitalism is supposed to work.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

By summer of 2026, I assume Bian Capital will be at least twice as large as it is today. As for me, I’m aiming to make philanthropy a bigger part of my professional role. By 2026, I hope to focus 70% of my work day on the business and the remaining 30% on charitable endeavors.