So, you’re in school and you want to go into entrepreneurship? Cool! I like playing dangerous too.
Gone are the days of waiting after graduation and getting a job. Gone are the days of “business is for uneducated people”.
Come on, you and I know better and frankly, starting a business when you are in school is probably one of the best ideas. It gives you time to prepare for “post-school” days. Starting a business is never easy, but here are a few tips to help you get started and stay on the hustle.
First, get the idea!
You can either be innovative by starting something new or redefining something old. Usually, most student campuses are filled up with people peddling the same wares in the same manner.
If your idea is based on an already existing idea, then you should be one step ahead of those already in the business by having a modification.
New ideas are always fresh.
Analyze the demand rate for your product (goods or services). This can be done either by studying the existing market for an already existing idea or carrying out a mini survey for a new idea.
You should be sure of your target market, which should mostly be students. But also consider, do you provide services for the non-student members of the community? Make sure your idea has no legal implications.
How much technical know-how is needed in the business? How much do you know or can you provide? Do you have what it takes?
Should you first acquire certain knowledge and skills? Do you have the time to see it through?
These are some of questions you need to ask yourself when self-evaluating.
Research the competition
No, this is not spying or “copy-catting”. This is purely a form of business survey.
Some of the important things to research include, who your competitors are, any similarities in business (yours and theirs) and how long they have been in business.
How do they relate with their customers? What is their price range? et investigating and uncover these facts about the competition.
You remember this… (s)he who fails to plan, plans to fail?
You might think you’re an expert in the field you plan on venturing into, but if you do not make concrete plans, you are just an over experienced failure waiting to happen.
I want to debunk the notion most student entrepreneurs have about starting a business in school and ending it after school. Except you are only into business as a means to pay the bills and not interested in expanding what will become your brand, then you shouldn’t think of a business that will stop after graduation.
Most successful #MotherlandMoguls started in school and grew it from there. So, your business plan should have room for growing the brand outside and after school.
Is this a one woman venture or a partnership? Your partner can either be someone who has been there from the word go and is willing to invest time and money, or someone who started with you but wants to only invest money. She can also be someone you pair up with later on.
Is it necessary to have a business partner? The nature of the business will determine that. If it is a service providing business like home cleaning services, then the answer is yes. You will need a partner, if not at the beginning, then later on.
Let’s talk money
I know this is a the one that will probably interest you the most.
Where do you get money for your business? Well, this should also be in your business plan. Here are some sources you can raise money from:
- Personal savings- You should have savings, everybody should.
- Donations from family and friends
- Loans- check to see the types of loans available to you as a student and the general ones you’re eligible for.
- Thrift collections- These are local saving schemes that afford members the opportunity to take loans based on the arrangement. Ajo/esusu is a popular type of thrift collection in Nigeria.
On your marks…
Before you start, check to see if you have most of what you need, and if you do, start. Do not wait to be 100% ready, just do it.
Advertise and network
Well, what are friends for? Get your friends to use word of mouth, social media and even school related platform to blow your horns.
Use colourful fliers (duh) to drag attention. Oh and hashtags are another way to go. Network among your peers and locate your customers.
You are in business, yay!
Keep and eye on your profit margin. Don’t be too keen on the profit at first, just make sure your service or production cost are being covered.
Breaking even at the beginning is a really good thing. But watch your monthly returns and weigh them against your expenses. You should notice a slight growth.
Always take reviews. Do an audit after the first 3 or 4 months and see the places you need to improved.
Good luck dear student Motherland Mogul!