Tips For Running a Business in College
As an entrepreneur eager to establish yourself in the business world, you’re probably raring to begin, if you haven’t already. Your college years are the perfect time for self-discovery. Your university provides fertile ground for theoretical learning as well as hands-on experience. So don’t wait until graduation. If you want to start a business, college could be the perfect launch pad.
Balancing classes and exams with running a business might sound daunting, but many have done so successfully. While some young entrepreneurs don’t succeed while in college, it is worth noting some who did. From Time Magazine, launched by students in 1923, to Facebook, Yahoo, and WordPress, success stories abound.
Take inspiration from other successful business people and take advantage of the resources college offers. With some skillful time management and savvy networking, you could already be on the path to your dreams.
Manage Your Time
Take advantage of your downtime as a student to pursue your corporate endeavors. Allot certain days for school, and make the rest working days. Set realistic deadlines for both. Keep a planner to track the activities that you need to do. Do these ahead of time, and break the procrastination habit early.
Stephanie Shyu, the co-founder of AdmitSee.com, prioritized her business at the expense of her academic pursuits. She reasons that her company will give her a “potential career path” following her studies. According to her, it is important to allocate time to planning her post-graduation career. Shyu reminds student entrepreneurs that school exists as a platform to launch a career.
Don’t forget to sleep! We hear stories of business tycoons who only need a couple of hours a night. However, you perform your best when you get sufficient rest. And, biologically, you need a good deal of sleep in your late teens and early 20s. So build sleep into your packed schedule.
Network with Classmates and Professors
A university is full of people who are exploring their potential. You could be seated next to your business partner without knowing it. Now’s the chance to further explore your network. Once you find someone with similar interests, loop them in. On the flipside, your future clients could be roaming your campus.
The college educational community could potentially support your business ideas. Tag along with a crowd that will allow you to refine your ideas. ETN provides a great starting point. The university is full of industry pioneers who are knowledgeable on both theory and practice.
Should you ever need an expert opinion on certain matters, you can always go straight to your professors for advice. You may just find a mentor who will teach you the ins and outs of a certain industry. They, too, could be future customers.
Seize Learning Opportunities
You are in an educational institution for one thing: to learn. This stage of life allows you to gauge your interest and your skills. Take advantage of this. You won’t have such an opportunity later in life. Take courses related to the industry that piques your interest, but explore other interests, too. Always been curious about Renaissance art? Take a class. You never know what might benefit your business or spark your creativity.
Take Advantage of Student Benefits
As a student, you could be eligible for discounts on everything from software to museum admissions. You can also get student memberships in professional organizations and discounted attendance at their conferences. Some universities provide resources like maker spaces and business incubators. Some of them feature incredible libraries or media centers. Money can be tight in college and, even if it’s not, you want to put all that you can into your business. Grab perks where you can.
College is a time to make mistakes, so don’t be afraid to mess up. Robin Bruce, writing for Forbes, says, “Beneficial failure, the kind that teaches you along the way, requires a trial-and-error approach, where you make small, increasingly informed bets until you’ve learned enough to seize a larger opportunity.” What better place for trial-and-error than college? Your life will undergo a lot of changes during this time already; new classes every semester, changing roommates, relationships, and social activities. Roll with the changes and adjust your business plan too. And when one thing doesn’t work, try something else.
Starting a business in college is not a leisurely stroll across the quad. Yet, you have many resources available to you that others don’t. Take advantage of them. While there is a possibility of failing in the corporate endeavor you sought, you have only to learn from your mistakes.