How Can a Student Start a Business: Starting your own business while in school might seem daunting, but if you’re willing to put in the effort and keep your eye on the prize, you’ll find yourself making some money on the side as well as gaining useful business experience that will serve you throughout your career.
How Can a Student Start a Business?
1) The Benefits of Starting A Business
Starting your own business can be extremely rewarding. The risk of doing so is that you have to assume responsibility for everything, but also reap all of the rewards. Starting your own business gives you more independence and control over what happens in your life.
Your own business also gives you something that money can’t buy: genuine satisfaction and fulfillment. If you want to start a business, just make sure it fits into one of these categories: service businesses, product-based businesses, or direct sales opportunities. Here are some tips on how to get started.
2) Create an Action Plan
If you’re serious about starting your own business but don’t know where to begin, take the time to create an action plan. Set yourself up for success by creating milestones for your startup and mapping out a timeline for completion. In fact, consider sending regular updates about your progress so that you can measure your own growth and understand where you stand along the way.
It may just help keep you on track in making sure that your business gets off to a good start. If it feels daunting to chart out every little detail, at least look at high-level goals. And remember: It doesn’t have to be perfect! Just put something down on paper (or digitally) and start creating momentum.
3) Pick The Right Idea
You’ve seen it on television and you’ve read about it in magazines: College kids dropping out of school to start their own business. But starting your own business while you’re still a student can be quite risky—and if you fail, that could actually hurt your chances of graduating (no one wants to see a bad grade added to your transcript because of poor performance in another class). Before you jump in headfirst, learn what it takes to succeed.
Here are some tips for starting off on the right foot with your college-student business idea. #1 Research Your Market: Don’t just focus on whether or not there is demand for your product; look at how much competition there is as well. If there are already many businesses doing what you want to do, will yours stand out? Are people searching online or asking friends and family members where they can buy something similar?
Is there any reason why they should choose your company over all others? Be sure to understand all of these things before making a commitment. #2 Pick Your Niche: Do not try to sell everything under the sun! This will only spread yourself too thin, which means fewer sales and more money wasted on advertising and overhead costs. Focus instead on just one aspect of an industry or market.
4) Get Into the Nitty Gritty
The best way to get into business is to actually get into business. Some high school and college students have plenty of experience running businesses, while others are novices who should take it slowly and carefully. Whether you’re an expert or novice, you need to learn how to set up your company properly so that it can succeed. The first thing you should do when starting a company is to go through all of your paperwork and make sure everything’s correct.
5) Take Action And Follow Through
Starting a business takes more than just an idea. You also need to be able to take action, see it through and have enough grit to make things happen. Keeping in mind that business-building is hard work will help you stay motivated throughout your journey, even when things get tough or don’t go as planned. It’s important not to give up too quickly or you might miss out on opportunities that could lead to success.
The longer you’re willing to put in the effort and follow through with ideas, plans, and strategies, then there’s a good chance you’ll achieve your goals. The process of starting a business can feel overwhelming at times—but remember that most successful entrepreneurs never gave up! Take these tips from Tim Ferriss: Do one thing every day that scares you.
This quote comes from author Eleanor Roosevelt who said, You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…you must do the thing which you think you cannot do. Don’t let fear hold back from doing what needs to be done. Put yourself out there because nothing ventured means nothing gained.
6) What if I Fail?
Failure can be devastating, but it’s also important to know that it’s not permanent. Even if you failed at your first attempt, you’ve learned more than if you’d never tried. Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from taking smart risks, or from learning from your mistakes.
With each endeavor and with each challenge, in fact, comes learning and experience that will benefit you for years to come. Who knows—maybe next time around will be an unqualified success. If not, take comfort in knowing that you’ll have even more wisdom under your belt as you try again.
7) Develop An Outreach Strategy
Developing an outreach strategy is one of those things that seems deceptively simple. But like many tasks, it’s easier said than done. First, you need to determine what kind of strategy is best for your business — mass media or niche media. Your goal should be to raise your brand awareness, so if your target market is broad enough that you can reach them via television and radio advertising, do it!
If you are going after a more narrow target market that isn’t interested in national chains but loves mom-and-pop shops with personality, using niche outlets would work better for you. Once you know how you want to reach your audience, figure out where they go online. Are they on Twitter? Facebook? LinkedIn? Instagram? Pinterest? Then use these sites as platforms for reaching out to potential customers.
You don’t have to spend money on advertising; just create an interesting content about your company and post it online. People will share it naturally because they find value in it, which means new eyes will see what you have to offer. And once people start sharing it, their friends will want to know where they found such great information—it becomes a snowball effect!
8) Test Your Product or Service
Don’t get ahead of yourself. Develop your idea with small, controlled tests to see if you can feasibly make money from it. The more specific you can be with your product or service, and get validation for it, the better off you’ll be down the road when you need to raise funding or go public. Some ideas are simply too big for their own good—don’t bite off more than you can chew.
If you have an idea that could change lives, maybe start by asking people if they would pay $1 to support your cause. If they say yes, then ask them how much they would pay. Keep going until you reach $100 or so (or whatever amount is realistic) and then stop. You may not even need outside funding at that point because you already know there is demand for what you’re doing and how much people will pay for it.
9) Get Feedback
Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, getting feedback is essential to improving your pitch. Share it with friends and family members, or find a business plan competition that can help give you objective feedback from judges. Don’t forget to practice your pitch in front of the mirror. If you can stand there and tell me about your idea for five minutes straight without stuttering or going blank, you’ve got yourself a good solid pitch that can easily be executed at events like Startup Weekend, he says.
A great way to improve is by practicing—so don’t wait until you have to sell it on stage! There are lots of great resources online as well to help perfect your pitch. Check out these tips for how to deliver a killer elevator pitch. One tip: keep it short and simple (and practice!). You should only spend one minute talking about what you do, says Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups.
10) Use Tools to Help With Marketing, Sales, Etc.
There are tons of tools out there that can help you work smarter and grow your business faster. For example, if you’re looking to market your product or service on a budget, consider using Facebook ads. If one of your goals is to improve sales, there are several apps that can help boost your conversion rates on sites like Shopify or Square. You could also look into using a plug-in for social media scheduling.
No matter what tools you choose, make sure they align with your overall vision and complement each other in building your online brand and expanding your reach—and don’t forget to ask questions before investing any money! When it comes to finding good tools, sometimes it’s better to go cheap than spend more money than you need to.
Starting a business as a student is hard work, but it’s not impossible. A little bit of inspiration and know-how can go a long way. If you’re looking to start your own business, there are plenty of resources that can help you succeed. Check out these books and websites to get started.