You’re a student and you want to start a business?
Students are often introduced to the concept of business at a fairly early age so naturally, most students get really unique ideas about random things that they forget about in two days because they don’t know where to start. They feel overwhelmed with the work at school they already have and because of this, they don’t really have the time to take action on their idea. These tips will hopefully provide students with some encouraging and helpful advice.
Tip #1: Start an Idea Bank
Whenever you get an idea, store it in an idea bank. I personally have an idea bank through Dropbox, but feel free to store one anywhere you’d like. An idea bank in my terms is basically a folder or collection of some sort that contains a bunch of files and each file contains an idea. It doesn’t really matter whether or not each idea has an expansion or a detailed description to it, it is just meant to be in your idea bank so you can look back on it when you are maybe older and perhaps pursue it. It really isn’t hard to come up with ideas in the first place. Ideas come into our heads all the time and most of them are really farfetched, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be written down somewhere. Most ideas come from dreams, both daydreams and night dreams (and the occasional nightmare). The problem is that nighttime dreams barely stay in a person’s head after five minutes of that person waking up. So, if a dream contains any sort of idea, just right it down on a piece of paper or on a computer and store it somewhere. The whole idea bank thing is also really neat because it allows people to always have something to do. Sure, most people would spend their free time watching a movie or a TV show, but if a person really wanted to be productive, he/she could just look at the idea bank. Once you’ve got your idea that you’ve stored in your idea bank, you’re ready to dive right into your very own business!
Idea banks are extremely helpful!
Tip #2: Plan
Now that you have your idea and you’re ready to dive right into making your business, you need a business model. A business model, according to Investopedia.com, is a plan implemented by a company to generate revenue and make a profit from operations. For example, a website-based company’s business model, would be to generate revenue using advertisements. If you are trying to sell a physical product, how are you going to sell that product? Where are you going to sell that product. What materials do you need? How much profit are you going to get? Is your company going to manufacture the product or is some other company going to do it?
Also, how are you going to get the initial startup money? There are many ways to get the money necessary to start up your company. The obvious one is to get a job, but in today’s day and age, the better thing to do as a student is to utilize the internet as a cash cow. With the internet, you can generate income to start up your company by selling a digital product (game, eBook, video, etc.) as long as there is a market for it. You can even make that your company!
You want to have a business model that you feel comfortable with, a set of items necessary to start up your company, and a team of people that will help you – then you’re good. Done. Speaking of that last thing…
Tip #3: Get a Team
If you want to start a business as a student, you are going to need help whatever the product or service is. Not every business starts up as a one-man job. Entrepreneurs need to have trustworthy people helping them all the time. Especially if you are a student with barely any time to crunch in space for free time, add in some friends or fellow students to spread out the work and make for a larger community around your company. These partners can help you manage your startup money or tinker with the product idea to create something really innovative.
For any goal, there is a number of steps that must be taken to reach that goal. For example, a movie cannot really be made without concept art because an artist helps a director envision a movie better. The director can’t just make the movie on his/her own because that would honestly be terrible for the director and it would take insane amounts of time. I’d like to think that a company’s success is based on the synergy and work ethic between the team members. Overall, no matter what your future product or service could be, you need other people helping you along the way.
Tip #4: There’s Always Room for Improvement
Look for ways to improve the atmosphere and don’t just copycat other items. Regardless of you being a student with only enough time to make a prototype version of something, your product/service affects your integrity. If you were to look at different aspects of the market you are trying to get into, try to find holes and gaps using methods of price ranging and minor product/service details. Then try to fix those issues. While this may seem like a copycat method, it really isn’t. Many consumers would look at your idea and see it as a valuable alternative in a market. This is a neverending cycle in the business world. People will find the market holes, fix them, get more popular than previous ideas, and either keep updating or lose to a newer item on the market.
Finding key missing points in a current company already in the market is one thing, but creating new market strategies is even greater. You have to think outside of the box to really make people turn their eyes to your company. They have to see that you are the improvement upon past entries and your product is unique and innovative with a twist of “Huh, that was cool.” If your idea creates a whole new market space, that is awesome. This means that you are going into uncharted waters which not one person before you the ground rules for. You get to define the space and you will be known as the baseline for what is to come, which means that there is always potential improvement.
Tip #5: Just Do It!
Just start a company. Honestly, don’t hold back because you are a student and you have a lot of work to do. Think about it: sure you are a student and you do have a lot of work to do, but you aren’t an adult. You don’t have to pay taxes, you don’t have to fill up gas, you don’t have a full time job, and you are supported by your parents/guardians.
Your limit is really just an idea that we put in space like some kind of bubble that can’t pop, but “POP!” Oh, I’m sorry, did your limit just pop? Do not hold yourself back for something that could have an awesome return. You could learn a lot from just starting a company like “Is this good for me?” or “WOAH, I sold a lot! I’m gonna be rich at 20 something!” Or you could learn from mistakes as we all make them. Though I hear people are afraid of taking risks because they think they will make mistakes, it’s better to make mistakes now than it is when you are an adult.
If you really have a product or a service that you think has a unique and innovative solution to a current problem or just something cool to present, then the best way to really show that you care is to just create it already! You define your limit and that’s the beauty of starting your own business as a student.
There’s a Light Somewhere…