The five W’s to starting a business while you’re a student

As a business student you may have a natural desire to create and manage your own business. I once did too, and I ran my business successfully for four years before I decided it was a good time to get out. You may or may not have heard of it, UNIVERSITEE APPAREL. We specialized in college apparel and products for ECU. Over those four years I learned a lot of simple but effective ways to run my business that will potentially save you time and money when running yours. Working for yourself, and carving your own path in life is a great experience and I hope these simple tips will help you along the process.

The WHO. No, not the english rock band; these are your customers, your clientele. In the early stages it will start off as friends and family. Don’t overlook them. They are extremely valuable customers. You’re friends and family know you best; so they will most likely promote your business by word of mouth to their friends, and to their friend’s friends. It’s a pride thing, so let them talk and brag all about you, it’s okay! The most important thing here is networking. I don’t know who said it but “It’s not always what you know, but who you know”. Reach out, meet new people, share your business. You may find out that a close friend’s father can manufacture your products for you at a much cheaper price. In the end you are here to make a profit.

WHAT will your business be? Designer clothing? Handmade jewelry? Building websites or mobile apps? The key is to be realistic with yourself. More than likely you will not be creating the next Facebook. See what’s out there first, and see if you can do it better. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to be successful here. Most people have problems running a business because they just decide to throw money at it and expect it to work out. Do what you’re good at, what you know, and what you’re passionate for. Be proud of what you do.

So WHERE will your business reside? The main ingredient for this is “Location, Location, Location … or online”. Understanding the difference between commerce and e-commerce can save you a vast amount of money. Having an online store will substantially be cheaper for you in the early stages so look into that first. If you get your business going then consider opening a flagship store or office. There are plenty of free and easy to use online store templates out there to set you up. I will get into those in a follow up blog but please take advantage of them.

Well WHEN you might ask? As stated in the title, starting a business while you’re a student is absolutely manageable. When you graduate however; and you begin to look for a serious job, and your loans begin to come in, you won’t find the free time you had during college. Plus, you’re young, so a few late night work sessions won’t kill you (well lets hope not at least), especially since I’m sure you stay up late anyways.

WHY would you start your own business at all? Well to put it bluntly, it’s extremely fun and the money is great when you become successful. Sitting behind a desk listening to lecture after lecture get’s old real fast but when you make that connection between what you’re learning in the classroom and what you envision your business to be, it makes what you’re learning all that more interesting.

Remember, when you love the work you do, you never work a day in your life.


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