How to Run a Business as a College Student

Do you have all the college essentials? Binders, schedules, a snack from The Nosh to eat in between classes? Well what about your business essentials?

See, when it comes to starting your own business, there are some crucial steps you need to take before you can scale your brand to the top. The more you know about starting a business, the more power you have to form an organization that develops into a lasting source of income and satisfaction. For help with the beginning stages of operating a business, the following checklist is a great place to start.

Choosing and Registering a Business Name
Seems simple enough, right? A good business name summarizes the product or service into something catchy and easy to remember for the customers. As a best practice, we recommend having multiple names to choose from. After all, nobody wants to have the same business name; you want to be unique as possible! You can check the availability of your potential business name with the Secretary of State or any other corporate filing office.

After you make sure you’re legit, register your name with the county clerk as a fictions or assumed business name. Stay one-step ahead and claim all social media handles under your newly registered name!

Legal Structure
Maybe not the most exciting, but definitely important. Kind of like MATH 1025, Geometry in the real world. When deciding on a legal structure that best suits your business, it’s important to consider these things:

  • Identify the number of owners of your business.
  • Decide how much protection from personal liability you’ll need, which depends on your business’s risks.
  • Decide how you’d like the business to be taxed.
  • Consider whether your business would benefit from being able to sell stock.

It’s not a decision to be entered into lightly, especially for a college student. It’s important for students to seek expert advice from business professionals, like those at UMSL Accelerate, when considering the pros and cons of various business entities.

The Infamous Business Plan
If you hear from most entrepreneurs, business plans are a waste of time, and limit your creative freedom. We however, like to look at a business plan as a tentative guide to run and operate your business. Comprehensive business plans have three sections–business concept, marketplace and financial–and these are broken down into seven components that include the overview or summary of the plan, a description of the business, market strategies, competition analysis, design and development, operations and management, and financial information.

But putting together a 15-20 page business plan, plus working on research papers and other school work, it would probably make your head explode if you do it by yourself. If you need help with handling homework and starting a business plan, make sure to check out UMSL Accelerate offices in rooms 501, 503 & 513 of the Social Science and Business Business Building Tower on North Campus. They’re good at that kind of stuff!

Is your great idea good enough? Can it grow in this slow economy? Can it become profitable, and return on any investments it requires? Well, there’s no way to know until you try, right? Hardly. There are some ways to prepare yourself, test your idea, and improve it before you actually found a company around it.


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