5 Steps to Becoming a Successful Student Entrepreneur

Regardless of your age, educational background and other credentials, making the decision to become an entrepreneur is not a matter to take lightly. Entrepreneurs must devote many long hours to their business venture regularly, and this includes from the business planning stage through to the launch, regular operations and more.

As a college student, you may be wondering if you should hold off on your business plan until after you have graduated. The reality is that many successful entrepreneurs took the leap and started businesses while they were still enrolled in school, and you can potentially be successful in your endeavor as well. As you might imagine, this is not a step that is right for everyone. With a closer look at what it takes to succeed and the required steps, you can determine if you are ready to rise to this challenge.

The Benefits and Challenges That Come with Entrepreneurship While in College

Before you begin preparing a detailed business plan, researching the competition and taking other preliminary steps, you need to understand the benefits and drawbacks associated with starting a new business while you are enrolled in college. Perhaps the most significant drawback relates to time. College students may be notoriously busy trying to attend classes and study for tests. You may have to cut back on some of your current activities and devote most of your personal time to becoming an entrepreneur. However, after you graduate and have a full-time job in your field, you may be just as busy.

Many college students are also timid about starting a business venture because of their lack of professional experience. However, students may also have access to mentors through their professors who can offer great free advice. These professors may be less willing to help you after you graduate and are no longer enrolled in the school.

You should also consider the financial aspect of jumping into business this early. After you graduate, your expenses inevitably will increase. You may have to start making student loan payments, and you may buy a new car or house. Perhaps you will settle down and start a family, and you may need to take out a business loan to fund your new business. On the other hand, your current expenses may be very low compared to what they may be in the future. More than that, you may be able to draw more money from student loans to fund your endeavor.

How to Prepare Yourself for Business Success

Just as you would not launch a business after graduation without ample planning, you also should not do so in college. One of the first steps that you should take to prepare for success in the business world is to find a part-time job or internship in your desired field. This position may provide you with critical insight, the ability to improve important skills and access to wonderful contacts that you can reach out to later.

Consider following the FAST method, which stands for Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Transparency. A closer look at these concepts may help you to better prepare for success as a student entrepreneur and can help you through college too.

  • Focus: You should initially create a business plan that is focused clearly on what you want to accomplish. Your endeavor must have focused goals that are actionable. These should be short-term goals as well as long-term goals. Try doing this for the next exam you have: the aim is to pass the exam with highest scores, so create a plan on how to get there.
  • Accountability: Accountability essentially holds individuals accountable for the work that they are responsible for. With a solo business venture, you will be entirely accountable for all aspects of the project. If you are launching the business with a partner, there should be clearly defined responsibilities and organization to the operational structure. Think about the exam: you are accountable for the score you get. A study partner can help you prepare in a more efficient manner if you set up some ground rules.
  • Simplicity: Your business plan needs to identify how you will achieve short- and long-term goals in detail. This means that each step needs to be outlined and carefully planned out, but with a focus on simplicity.
  • Transparency: Transparency enables you and your partners or team to monitor your progress and to see how far you still need to go to accomplish goals. Through transparency, you and others may remain motivated and focused. Think about a group assignment and how regular updates and collaboration software helps you have a general overview of how things are going.

5 Steps to Ensure a Successful Business Venture in College

While there are no guarantees that your venture will be successful, there are steps that can set you on the right path. These include:

  1. Evaluation: Understanding the skills and knowledge that you and others bring to the table is essential. Compare this to the skills and knowledge that may be required for success so that you can determine how you can improve the situation.
  2. Learning: Learning more about how your product or service would fit into the marketplace and address consumer needs and desires is essential. Take time to learn more about the market and to tweak your offerings accordingly.
  3. Research: Even when you have an excellent product or service that may be in high demand, there may be others who are already meeting that demand. You must understand who the competition is, what they are offering and how to present your product or service as a better choice.
  4. Planning: These steps will help you to get a head start on the developing of a business plan, but your plan requires much more detail. It should include a market analysis, plans for product development, a financial analysis and more.
  5. Action: After carefully and thoroughly walking through these steps, you are ready to take the first step toward the launch. This often includes registering your business, applying for patents and more.

Starting a business as a college student may be a wonderful idea that brings positive changes to your life. However, this monumental step should not be taken hastily. Spend ample time talking through these steps and incorporating the tips into your efforts to get your project started on the right foot.

About the author:

Michelle Laurey produces stories on finance, entrepreneurship, and productivity. Always interested in ways which can help individuals reach full potential in life, she loves sharing her thoughts. She is a virtual assistant for a few small businesses. Outside her keyboard, she enjoys a good book, healthy food and bike rides. Reach out to her on Twitter.