Tips for starting a side business

Being a student isn’t cheap. Everybody knows that. Fees are expensive, books are expensive, living is basically expensive. So, it’s hard when you don’t have any cash coming in. That’s why having a side business could be a great idea.

But it’s not easy starting a business when you’ve got studying to worry about. So, here are some tips to help you out and make it easier for you.

Decide exactly what you want to do

You may not need a physical business plan immediately, but you do need to know what you’re going to do. Are you going to offer a service or a product? Who is your target market? How are you going to make a profit? Side businesses shouldn’t be complicated because you don’t have much free time to work with.

Check the university guidelines first

You don’t want to start your own business only to have it shut down because it goes against the university’s rules. If you’re doing it off campus then it’s not a problem but if you’re offering your services on the premises you need to be careful. If you’re not sure of the rules, send an email to campus administration.

Advertise in the cheapest way possible

Fliers and posters are good for campuses and small student towns. There are loads of notice boards you can stick them up on and places you can hand them out. You can always ask one of your art or design student friends to create them for a small amount of money.

Word of mouth works

If people are happy with your goods or services, they’ll tell people. And when you’re running a small business for students, this is the best way to get customers. So, ask the people you deal with to spread the word. You could even offer a small discount for referrals.

Keep a record of cash in and cash out

Just because this is a side project and not a full blown business venture doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep a record. If you want to make a profit, you have to know where your money is coming from and where it’s going. You can do this on a spreadsheet or have a physical book you write everything down in. Just make sure you keep track of all transactions.

Starting a side business while you’re still studying has a lot of benefits. You make extra cash and prepare yourself for the real world. Who knows, your business may expand once you graduate and you could be looking for bollard suppliers or your own premises straight out of university.