Here are the top tips for student entrepreneurs to give you the best possible chance of making your business successful.
An entrepreneur is someone who starts a new business venture by innovating, developing and producing a new product, service or idea. An entrepreneur is not a business owner, like the owner of a shoe store or an electrical store, but someone who develops their own innovative concept and turns it into a profitable business. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has an estimated wealth of 55 billion, and at 23 became the world’s youngest billionaire. Zuckerberg has become a role model and inspiration for the next generation of technologically savvy young student entrepreneurs.
Other famous young student entrepreneurs include:
Jeff founded Amazon from his garage at the age of 30 as a small online bookstore. Today he is worth 150 billion and Amazon is the world’s largest online sales company.
Richard founded Virgin Records, later to be known as Virgin Megastores at the age of 22. He then set up Virgin Airlines and Virgin Galactic Today, a space corporation for Space Tourism. Today he is worth 4.1 billion.
Steve, the founder and CEO of Apple started working on his first prototype, Apple I at the age of just 21 and together with Steve Wozniak, became the pioneer of the personal computer revolution.
Top Tips for Student Entrepreneurs
1. Be Open Minded
Be open minded to new ideas. You can never really know what your innovation will be and where your idea will come from. Listen, read, observe and learn. Your big idea could come from an industry or sector outside of your primary interest. It may be technology, health, fashion, food or childcare. If you are studying business or technology, your skills and knowledge can be put towards any product, service or innovation in any industry.
2. Choose a Product or Service of Interest to You
Choose something that is of interest to you and that will inspire, motivate and challenge you.
You may wish to consider:
- Starting a business in an industry that inspires you
- Using the skills and knowledge gained in your degree to build a business
- Making an impact or change in your community
- Solving a humanitarian need
3. Write a Business Plan
A business plan is a document that details the objectives of your business and strategies for achieving them. Your plan will be assessed by potential investors in your future business so it needs to be perfect. The business plan needs to describe your product or service and discuss the current industry. You then need to do some market analysis to work out who your customers are, where they are and what products or services they currently use. In the financial section, you will need to include an income statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet.
4. Learn as Much as Possible Before Becoming a Student Entrepreneur
In order to succeed in business, you will need to have knowledge of business, marketing, finance, accountancy, technology and human resources. At the beginning you may be working from your kitchen table or garage, but if you want to fulfill your goal of becoming an innovative entrepreneur and build a successful thriving business, your business and finance knowledge will need to be grounded.
If you are interested in taking short courses, try Udemy, Coursera or LinkedIn Learning. They have some excellent skill-based courses designed and delivered by professionals in the field. They are video based, so you can watch or listen to them on your device at a time and place that suits your schedule.
If you are looking for a more thorough educational grounding in Business Administration or Computer Science, try University of the People, the world’s first tuition-free American accredited online university. Alternatively, you can look at some of the other accredited online degree options out there.
5. Start Networking
Building a strong professional network will help you in every stage of your future career by giving you opportunities in the way of help, advice, contacts, friends and future business.
Your university or college may have networking events, meetups or societies for student entrepreneurs. It is a place to connect, make like-minded friends, collaborate and learn. There are also organizations that run workshops for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Check out shared work spaces in your area. They sometimes run events and workshops.
Also check Facebook for events in your area on topics of interest. Another great place to connect with like-minded people is meetup.com. Meetup groups are communities of people who get together regularly to share a particular hobby or interest.
6. Student Entrepreneur Awards, Competitions and Grants
Invest time and effort in researching competitions, grants and awards. There are companies and organizations who look to invest in sound ideas that have potential. A good place to start is by asking your university if there are any funds or programs available for student entrepreneurs. Some universities provide financial assistance and a wealth of resources.
Then research regional and global awards, grants and competitions. The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) is the premier global competition for students who own and operate a business while attending college or university. Their goal is to accelerate your success in order for you to make an impact in your community.
You can also try Pitch@Palace, a global network founded by the Duke of York, UK, to encourage and accelerate the work of entrepreneurs. The organization provides investment, mentors, advisors and help connect you with CEOs and people of influence.
8. Learn as Much as Possible
Learn as much as possible about the industry. One great way of doing this is to become an intern at a company as it will enable you to apply your academic learning to real-world situations, build knowledge and skills and develop a valuable insight into your area of interest.
Follow the latest industry news, sign up to informative newsletters and blogs. Take your university courses seriously, especially if you are studying a business-related field.
Our Final Tips:
Don’t be afraid of failure. You may need to pivot several times. Each failure is a learning experience to help you to correct mistakes and try again.
Keep your business small and lean and don’t overspend at the beginning.
Find a mentor to advise you in the early stages of your business. It’s extremely valuable to have someone with more experience to give you some guidance.
Don’t give up on your studies. Use it to gain the knowledge base, skills and experience that you need to make your venture successful.
If your career goal is to become an entrepreneur, make sure that you take your academic learning seriously, as your education will be your greatest asset in the success of your future business. An in-depth knowledge of accountancy, finance, marketing, technology, law and human resources can be the difference between the success or failure of your future endeavor.