At this point, I think we can all name at least one business that skyrocketed to success and was launched out of a dormitory or while the founder was still in college. There’s the infamous tale of FedEx’s beginnings when founder Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper at Yale University detailing how the shipping industry would change due to changing informational needs and advances in technology – Inogen, a mobile medical device company founded by former University of CA, Santa Barbara student Allison Perry who recruited two of her classmates, Brenton Taylor and Byron Myers, to join her team. And of course, Sean Fanning, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates who all equally revolutionized technology with their businesses Napster, Facebook, and Microsoft.
College is actually the perfect place for any young entrepreneur to start their own business – just the idea of going into school with a business idea that could one day potentially be the next Facebook is enough to make anyone want to shoot for the stars!
But how can a student juggle exams, college life, and run a successful business at the same time?
Don’t worry, we provided some of the best tips to below to help college students like you successfully launch their business.
It’s All About The Experience
Being an entrepreneur is definitely an “inward” experience, even more so for a college student. We’re bombarded with new ideas and choices everyday, so it’s really important we talk through and test our ideas until it works. Until something clicks. Try keeping a private blog or Word document and record everything you’re working on or thinking about. After all, you don’t have much to lose, so what’s the harm in trying everything at least once?
Use What You Got To Get What You Want
We’re talking resources here people. Friends and classmates can serve as test cases. Professors with plenty of years of business expertise (especially here at UMSL!!). Computer labs just in case your laptop crashes, even escaping to the library for some peace and quiet can all serve you greatly. College is the resource that keeps on giving, so take advantage!
Take The Right Classes
I get it, Anthro 2191 “Zombies, Vampires, Monster” sounds pretty awesome. However if you’re ready to grow your following and obtain a strong word of mouth, you’re going to need to enroll into some marketing classes. In edition to your normal gen eds, look into taking courses on entrepreneurship. Not sure if you stuff extra classes into a full credit load? Try enrolling in summer classes.
Get in Touch With UMSL Accelerate
Okay chances are, if you’re reading this article you are know about the awesome things UMSL Accelerate can do for your business. You can work alongside with seasoned entrepreneurs who you can really admire, trust and respect. Dan Lauer and Ala Al-Lozi make such a huge effort to combine talent, academic study and public service together to strengthen both the student and the community.
Internships As In Plural
The more you know and understand how to run an own a business is better. This is going to require you to work for a wide variety of companies, but the great thing is, you’ll have multiple viewpoints on how to run a business. Don’t neglect your schoolwork, but really take advantage of these internships and try to start early as possible.
So..What The Heck Is An Ein?
You have to make sure you protect yourself legally. Whether it’s a corporation or LLC, you have to make sure you protect your intellectual property with trademarks, copyrights, patents, and logo. Make sure you grab an EIN from the IRS so they can properly identify your business for tax purposes. The sooner you brand your business, the safer it will be from anyone trying to snatch up the idea for themselves.
Don’t Give Up If You Aren’t Immediately Successful
Does Dory’s “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” pop up in your head too? Well it definitely should! If your business tanks or doesn’t prove to be successful, try again! Keep thinking of unmet needs and opportunities to evaluate ways that your product or service could make life could be easier.