In college, talent runs high, while money runs low. However, there’s no reason that this talent can’t be used to bring in some extra cash throughout college and, possibly, beyond. Founding a business can be time-consuming but well worth it -- just think of the student loans that saving up could help pay off. Here are a four simple steps to beginning a business.
1. Get In Where There’s Room
From food to fashion, there is always a demand for something -- just find a niche with a great demand, and get started!
Be patient, and keep in mind that it takes money to make money, meaning that it takes an investment to start a business. Consider borrowing the start-up costs from a parent or planning a fundraiser; the Small Business Administration recommends looking into government-backed loans and grants to help get started. Start-up costs vary for each business. Also, take advantage of any training that may better service.
2. Put it on Paper
According to Forbes, every savvy business plan should provide the following: a clear executive summary, a target market (demographic to benefit from the product), the competition and a team of individuals to work with (if any) and a business model. So get to writing a business plan for the company or product. Here’s a great template to follow.
Take advantage of the talent around campus and within different circles of friends when devising a team. With different majors, there’s someone who can help with each aspect of the business from advertising to designing. Remind them that it’s a great resume builder.
3. Give ‘em Something to Talk About
Start promoting the product, even without a physical product, and see what people’s thoughts are and how willing they are to make a purchase. Take the constructive criticism, and use it to improve the product. This will also boost familiarity with the product, so when it’s around campus, the audience know the answers to the five key questions: who, what, when, where and why in order to inform potential buyers. There are many inexpensive forms of promotion, such as word-of-mouth, flyers, blogs and social networks. If limited on startup costs, don’t hesitate to use these methods. After all, they’ve been used successfully for hundreds of years.
4. Read Between the Fine Print
Make sure to complete the proper documentation and file it. Don’t forget licensing and permits. Register the company to receive a tax identification number by contacting a local IRS office. When registering the company, remember policies vary by state; verify the guidelines for the specific business location with the U.S. Small Business Administration. This will help identify where to register and will prevent any unnecessary fees or citations.
For some entrepreneurial inspiration, check out College Gloss’ interview with Zoë Damacela, a college fashionista who began her own clothing line at age 14.
By: Kiarra Sylvester | Image: Source