A lot of young adults consider starting a business during college. It can be a great opportunity to become your own employer, earn extra funds, and grow a business. If it is something you’ve been thinking about, this guide is for you.
Although success is never given, no one is born an entrepreneur. It is a learned skill, and with a proper strategy, students can dramatically increase their success chances.
Step 1. Business Idea
The first step is to come up with a concept for the future business. It needs to be something you enjoy doing and can sell at the same time. So there has to be a value behind a product or service to others.
At the same time, it is important to evaluate the market for this idea, the target audience, and growth opportunities. Consider what you are good at and how it can solve a particular problem people have. The idea doesn’t have to be a breakthrough or something that has never existed before. It can be an upgrade to an existing solution that comes with significant benefits.
Step 2. Prioritize Your Time
Students have to acknowledge that running a business in college is going to be challenging. You already have lots of responsibilities, and adding more to the schedule will make it very dense. Before you devote your energy to the idea, make sure you understand what you are getting into.
You’ll need strong time management skills and prioritization. There will be times when you have to choose between your duties. Make a plan for such cases. For instance, if you need your assignment polished while you work on a business proposal, you can go to a paper writing services, for immediate help. This is a qualified academic writing platform that can easily manage all things college papers. Experts can write, edit, and proofread your work to make sure it is excellent. Or they can do the assignment for you from scratch.
Having such helpful resources is important to avoid any risks. With the help of experienced writers, you can keep up with your syllabus while devoting enough time to your student business.
Step 3. Research Competitors
The next stage is researching the market and existing companies with similar products/services. When researching, try answering these questions:
- How high is the competition?
- What makes your idea different?
- What marketing tactics do others use?
- What tactics of your competitors work the best?
- Is there a particular niche audience they might be missing?
This allows building your proposal better and focuses on what makes your brand different.
Step 4. Define the Customer
You need to have a clear idea of who is going to be your customer. Who are these people, and why are they attracted to your product/services? What value could your product offer them? What are their interests and values?
Create the most detailed customer persona you can. This will shape your product, marketing, and sales.
Step 5. Write a Business Plan
This is a document that maps out the development of your company. It is crucial to know your future steps. And it is necessary for business negotiation and attracting investors.
Usually, this document includes:
- Executive summary (the idea, goals, and methods);
- Company description(what issues the product solves;
- Market analysis (position against competitors);
- Organization and structure;
- Mission and goals;
- Description of products/services;
- Marketing plan;
- Financial plan.
Start with a draft and fill in the sections as you do your due diligence. This is a dynamic document you may always update or adjust.
Step 6. Build a Prototype
To test out the waters and attract investors, you need to build a prototype. It doesn’t have to be complete yet, but it needs to be visual and appealing. For instance, it can be a graphic presentation or a beta version of an app.
Even if you only can create a brochure at this stage, it can serve as the first product. It is essential to work on a prototype to establish a customer base, understand the market position better, and start business communication with potential partners.
Step 7. Choose Company Structure and Register It
The structure of the company impacts tax liability, operations, and financial management, namely:
- LLC (protects your assets, is easy to start, and can be a one-person company but cannot issue stocks);
- LLP (similar to the previous one but commonly used by attorneys or accountants – licensed professionals);
- Sole Proprietorship (easy to start, no additional paperwork, and you are in full control. But you are liable for all business debts);
- Corporation (limits liability the same way as LLC and offers an unlimited number of shareholders. But it comes with double taxation).
After you decide on the structure:
- Register the company legally and get an employer identification number.
- Acquire needed permits and licenses.
- Consider getting insurance.
Step 8. Create a Website
To promote and deliver services or products, you need a website. One page is enough for the beginning. And you do not need any programming expertise. There are plenty of affordable website builders you can use to create a company’s platform.
The crucial part is writing the company’s statement, product description, and offer. The visuals and multimedia also need to be of high quality. This is going to be one of the primary digital marketing platforms for the brand.
Step 9. Get into Marketing
When you have a product, website, and strategy, it is time to promote your business. If you only have a prototype, you can create a button for people to apply for early access to evaluate the demand.
Digital marketing is one of the most efficient and budget-friendly options for entrepreneurs. The major milestones in that process are:
- Come up with a comprehensive strategy on where and how to promote your product;
- Optimize website SEO performance;
- Define the major communication channels (social media, blogs, YouTube, etc);
- Create promotional and relevant content;
- List your company in online directories like Google My Business;
- Create a social media presence.
Make sure the brand voice and positioning are consistent through all the channels.
Follow these 9 steps to start your student business. Although it might be scary at first, with effort, dedication, and best essay writing services everything is possible.
Blessing Iyamadiken loves the art of storytelling and enjoys creating all types of content from news to entertainment. She is also a feminist and very passionate about Gender Equality. In her spare time, she loves to read or binge on Netflix.