Starting a business is never an easy endeavor. Starting a business while you’re in school, meanwhile, presents an even greater challenge. On top of schoolwork and classes, managing your own business can be challenging for any student. But it is possible, and it’s definitely an enriching learning experience that you can use for many years to come. Here are five things you should consider before starting your own business as a college student.
Take the Right Course or Major
Enrolling in the right college course can obviously give you all the resources and knowledge you need to get started. Your choice of major can be important as well. The courses and classes you take can significantly impact your business plan, how you handle your business, and how prepared you are for one.
A course on business administration is the most obvious choice for anyone who wants to create their own business. Still, a degree in economics or even information technology can help immensely, too. It saves you the time and trouble of learning it later and equips you with all the right stuff to get your business off the ground. If you’d rather not make it your major for whatever reason, you could definitely take on business classes as electives or extracurricular instead.
Secure Funding and Resources
Unless you already have enough funds saved up or already have a sponsor who’s willing to invest in your business, the first thing you’re going to need is some funding. Even as a student, there are a lot of ways you can get funding. You can get a part-time job, crowdsource, or apply for scholarships, grants, and school loans. You can also try appealing to big investors such as other business owners in exchange for a share of the profits. Who knows, you might even be lucky enough to get an angel investor interested in your start-up.
Other than funds, you also need resources. These could range from the supplies you need to conduct business to human resources or a proper workplace. Finding resources could all be a matter of finding the money and connections or taking advantage of what’s already there. As a student, you have to make the most out of the college or university resources available to you. Many colleges offer printing or copy services, Wi-Fi, use of the library or conference rooms, and other materials that could help your business. It’s a good idea to take full advantage of the many resources your college offers.
Make a Plan
When we say to plan, we don’t just mean coming up with a thorough business plan. It would be best to look at your daily schedule, including your classes and extracurricular activities, to plan how you can fit running your business into it. The life of a student can be very hectic, and you’ll need to plan your schedule carefully if you hope to pass your classes, run a business, maintain your social life, and have some time for yourself as well.
As much as possible, plan out your foreseeable future. How long do you want to keep up your business? How much longer till you graduate, and what are you going to do about your business then? If it ever comes to that, what’s your plan if your business goes bankrupt? These are all questions you should ask yourself as early as possible to prioritize your tasks and plan.
Learn to Manage Your Time
This should go without saying, but good time management skills are essential when running a business while still a student. Juggling school and work can be challenging, and you can’t compromise one for the other. Both are huge commitments, and you need to decide as soon as possible how much time you’re actually willing to dedicate to both. At the same time, you want to fit in a few breaks here and there and give yourself space to breathe and relax in between all the hard work you’re doing. This may all seem like a lot at first, but the right time management skills can help you go a long way.
Recruit Fellow Students
You won’t find a better support group than your fellow students. A part of time management and planning is learning how to delegate tasks that you can’t possibly do independently. Finding other like-minded students to help you out in your business is essential to getting that much-needed manpower and resources you need. In exchange, you can offer them monetary compensation or a part of your profit. Think of it less like getting other students to join a student organization and more like finding the right business partners to make sure that your business lasts for as long as it can.
While you might not be able to offer them the same level of employment as a full-time job might, you can offer them a valuable learning experience and even some training if they plan to go into the business themselves. Other than other students, try finding business mentors among your business teachers or even business alumni. They can help you to manage your business and give valuable advice on how best to operate it.
It shouldn’t be hard to guess by now, but your business’s future and longevity rely greatly on your time management and socialization skills. To make sure that your business not only lasts but thrives, you need to have your priorities straight and take advantage of all the right resources. It may seem like an intimidating feat, but with the right resources and support, you can certainly make it happen.