Six Tips for Starting a Local Business While You are Still in College
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well on college campuses, as CEO’s and business owners get younger every day. Starting and running a business while you are still in college is no easy task, but it can be achieved by those who are passionate about the business and willing to work hard. Not only is running a business in your college years a great way to support yourself financially, but it will provide you with better opportunities after graduation. Starting a local business in college will require a few special strategies that aren’t always used in typical business. Keep reading to discover the best ways to start a local business while you are still in college—and live to tell the tale.
While you will be starting a business, your top priority will still be attending class and passing your courses. If you are even considering launching a business, schedule your classes in a compact morning or afternoon block so you can spend the other part of the day working on your business. Look into options for work study and online classes, because the most valuable entity to you during this period is your time. Meet with your academic counselor to ensure that you get into the classes necessary to create a schedule that will be conducive to running a successful business.
Take Advantage of the Talent around You
Your college probably has a business department that prides itself on professors with experience in the business world. If you aren’t taking any business classes, make an appointment with some of the top advisers. Odds are, they will be thrilled to give you advice and tips, and will appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit. Some professors likely own their own businesses themselves, and will be able to give you sound advice and even warnings after you pitch your idea to them. Having a mentor can be invaluable as you try to get your business off the ground while still in college.
You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel
Consider joining a franchise that allows you to run your business and attend classes at the same time. A franchise is a great option because there already are standards and guidelines in place in regard to how to operate your business, which means you don’t have to start from scratch. Franchises also work closely with owners to help them with strategies for success, so you’ll have extra support in getting things up and running. You’ll ultimately be running the business, however, partnering with a franchise provides you with a little more stability and access to helpful resources.
Advertise to Your Peers
The advantage of being a college student and business owner is your proximity to customers. When you are approaching the time to open your business stake out fraternity and sorority houses and create a buzz about your business. Advertise in the university newspaper to let fellow students know about your business. Spread the word on social media and encourage your friends to do so as well. You’ll have a strong opening if you first create positive buzz surrounding the business, so make yourself seen and heard around campus and other college hot spots. However, most universities don’t allow businesses to hang posters or pass out fliers for free, so you might need to tackle the surrounding areas as opposed to campaigning directly on campus.
Canvas Local Neighborhoods
People who live in college towns tend to be very supportive of the college and its students—they want to see their local talent succeed. Before your business opens, spend a day knocking on doors, handing out fliers, and letting homeowners know about your business. “Shop local” is a big trend in college towns. Most people will appreciate your entrepreneurial drive and will go out of their way to help you succeed. Even though you have easy access to college students, be sure to reach out to the surrounding community since many of these customers will have more money, and can do wonders for your business through word-of-mouth recommendations.
Enlist Other College Students as Employees
College students value flexibility. If you offer flexible schedules and a laid-back work environment, you can find other students who are dependable and willing to work for you even if you can’t pay top dollar. Find other students on campus who have caught the entrepreneur fever and want to be part of a new startup. Many students will be eager to be a part of the next big thing, and entrepreneurial work looks impressive on a resume. While schedules should be flexible, hiring all of your best friends could lead to a laid-back attitude that might end up costing your company. Be willing to work with employee’s schedules, but make it clear that it will take hard work to get the company up and running.
College is a time for exploration and risk-taking. In other words, it’s an ideal time to launch a business! If you start small and work hard, you can achieve your entrepreneurial dreams by providing a service or product to your campus, or college town. Use the resources at your disposal, and take advantage of the special circumstances you are in during college. You’ll find that with the right advice, employees, schedule, and advertising strategies, running a business in college will soon be a successful reality. The information for this article was provided by the professionals at Student Works Painting, who offer part time jobs for students in Calgary, and provide franchising opportunities for people who want to run their own business.