How To Start a Business in College
Although it may seem daunting, your college years are a great time to launch a startup. Minimal risk, an abundance of resources, and unrestricted access to knowledge provide a pleasant environment to feed your entrepreneurial spirit.
College years are busy years. But with the right systems and priorities in place, you can launch a successful business. Google, Facebook and Dell were all started by college students, just to name a few.
There are a few things that everyone should consider before starting a business. These principals are especially significant for young entrepreneurs. Having the right mindset from the start will help ensure your success, whether your company ends up how you initially envisioned or not.
Have the Right Mindset
As a young professional, starting a business in college has to be viewed as a valuable experience whether you succeed or fail. You must go into the adventure confidently envisioning success, but knowing there is always a chance that you will start over.
This is why it is critical to be flexible. Every entrepreneur has an idea of what they want their company to look like in the future, but sometimes your entire business model changes during the process. We witnessed this a lot during the pandemic. The added factors that came with the pandemic forced companies to completely change merely to stay afloat.
As the world changes, your business should adapt. Paying attention to your market’s needs and problems, instead of being married to your initial idea, will ensure long term success for your business.
Keep in mind that even if your startup fails, you will come out of it more knowledgeable than if you hadn’t tried at all. Many entrepreneurs fail numerous times before they succeed.
Build a Following and Engage With it
In today’s digital age, building your own brand as an interactive thought-leader will build trust and make people want to do business with you. As a college student with less experience than older professionals, creating a substantial following can enhance your credibility and exponentially increase your overall reach.
We all know the cliche...content is king. A high-quality website and engaging social media can make all the difference in promoting your business and increasing your credibility. Be transparent about your work. Show off what you produce and be proud of it.
Potential clients, customers and employees will all want to see what kind of content you put out before doing business with you. Think about your content like your storefront. What do you want people to see when they walk into the store? How do you want them to feel? What products or services do you want to promote the most?
As you start to put out consistent content and gain a following, engage with your audience. Ask them questions and provide them a chance to feel like they are personally connecting with your brand.
Find Business Mentors
People want to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals that you admire and ask for their advice and guidance. The worst they can say is no.
Professors, faculty, alumni and personal mentors are all great places to start when looking for mentors. Utilize LinkedIn if you’re having trouble finding mentors. Reach out to someone in your area who has a position you’d like to have some day and ask if you can schedule an informational interview. Or reach out to a recent graduate of your program and ask to grab coffee or lunch!
Staying humble and remembering you don’t have all the answers yet is key to success as you build your company. This will allow you to find people who want to see you succeed and are willing to remain an asset.
We’ve all heard how crucial networking is. Seek out professionals that you want to learn from, but also ask yourself how you can provide value to them. Don’t just ask, “how can this relationship benefit me?” Ask yourself how you can provide value to your mentor in return.
Mutually beneficial relationships will go a long way in the professional world.
Utilize the Student Body
Enable your peers with opportunities to help your business grow. College students are looking to gain experience in their field, and there’s no better opportunity than working with a business right there on campus.
Maintaining a quality team is essential to any company’s success. Help your fellow students feel useful and provide them opportunities to help expand your business.
But don’t just hire your friends because you have fun hanging out with them. While trusting someone on a personal level and being comfortable around them is important, they must have the right skills, passion and drive in order for you to share your vision with them. It is critical that you are selective when it comes to who you choose to work with.
College students are ambitious and eager to kickstart their career. Building a team of driven young professionals can create an energetic, productive team culture from the very beginning.
Stay Flexible and Adaptable
Don’t get too attached to one way of doing things. Remember you are young, and that learning and adapting is all a part of the process.
During the beginning stages of success, it’s easy to stay attached to the aspects of your business that were there when the success started.
Choose to constantly evaluate and update every aspect of your company. Our phones and computers constantly have software updates. Our cars need tune ups and oil changes to run properly. Businesses are no different. Don’t be afraid to implement changes when necessary, even if leaving something behind is uncomfortable.
Some of the most successful startups in the world had to make serious “pivots.” Oftentimes the success of your business doesn’t start until you completely rebrand and transform the product or service you offer. A scary decision at the time led to these companies becoming household names.
Twitter initially launched as Odeo, a podcast streaming service. After Apple began to take control of the podcast market, Odeo made a bold pivot. Jack Dorsey pitched the “micro-blogging” idea, and the team at Odeo became Twitter. Without the willingness to change and adapt, Twitter would have never been born.
Choosing to be an entrepreneur is truly an adventure. It is uneasy, otherwise everyone would do it. By keeping these ideas in mind, you are more likely to enjoy a beneficial experience whether your company succeeds or fails.
Grand Launch Media: A GCU Student Startup
At Grand Launch Media, we believe you have a story to tell. We also believe that telling your story can help clarify your message, grow brand awareness,
increase sales and launch your brand to new heights.
Starting a business as a college student in the Phoenix, Arizona area has given Talbert Herndon, Co-Founder and Executive Producer many unique opportunities and experiences. In less than a year of existence, Grand Launch Media continues to grow exponentially.
“Find what you love to do and make a business out of it. Those are always the most successful ventures,” says Herndon. By taking their passion for photography and film and turning it into a profitable business, Talbert & Lyric have created amazing opportunities for themselves and their peers.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. But if executed correctly, it can be an invaluable experience. “With the right mindset, planning, and a good team, taking this leap can mean expanding your knowledge in all areas of business, while creating a successful path for yourself that you are in control of,” says Lyric Jackson, Co-Founder and Executive Producer.
If you are a young entrepreneur looking to grow your digital presence, reach out to our team at Grand Launch Media to see how we can help.