By Jared O’Toole
August 6, 2009
Everyone is always asking when they should start their business. The answer never changes. NOW. When college kids hear that they seem to agree, but aren’t too excited. The classic responses of “there is so much going on at school. Not sure if I really have the time.” I hate that answer. College students are very caught up in the hectic environment of school and for good reason. I was there not too long ago and remember the cringe I would make when hearing about adding something to my schedule. But college is such an amazing time to start a business and here are the reasons…
Your professors will make great mentors for FREE! Even if you are not a business student you still have access to your business school’s resources and professors. I guarantee they would be willing to lend a helping hand on your project. Chances are some of the professors are or were entrepreneurs and may have even been very successful with their venture.
Lack of Responsibility
You think papers, tests, projects, and finals are a lot of responsibility!? Try making rent, car loans, feeding yourself and keeping your water running. Your responsibilities in college are to do decent in class and to party it up on the weekends. Not to mention all the vacation time. Take this opportunity to squeeze in some business work because it will pay off big time in the long run.
If you’re like me then you had a lot of friends who would tell it like it is. Part of college is living with and hanging out with the same group of people for a few years. These people get to know you better than anyone else and being 20-years-old there is usually plenty of picking on each other. Get your friends to tear apart your ideas, press releases, marketing plans, videos ,whatever it is. Having a group of people around that are not afraid to pick at your weaknesses can really help you patch them up.
Many schools will support a good idea and someone with the ambition to get it going. Either you can make a proposal to raise money from the school for your business or leverage the school to raise money for your venture. There is not necessarily an easy way to raise money, but this will be much easier than finding VC’s or angel investors.
Is there a better test market than a college environment? You have 18-year-old freshmen and 60-year-old professors. Jocks and art kids. Bookworms and the party crowd. Whatever your product I bet you can find your target audience somewhere on your campus. Take this opportunity to not only define your target market, but to also define who is not your target.
Need your Web site designed? Walk into the computer lab and work out a cheap deal with a student or maybe even get them a grade in their design class. This works for almost any part of your business. Writing, photos, marketing, video, etc. Kids are always looking for internships, freelance work, or a way to get a good grade or credits. This type of work can be priceless to a start-up company with no money and limited skill sets.
Jared O’Toole is co-founder of Under30CEO.com. His mission is to lead people to go out and do something they are passionate about instead of falling into the rat race and playing by corporate America’s rules. Under30CEO’s newsletter http://HelpAnEntrepreneur.com allows anyone to ask a business question and get answers from real people in their inbox or Twitter feed.