Tips for students starting their own business

black ceramic mug on book

Starting your own business is a daunting task for anyone, let alone someone who’s recently graduated. Many students focus on business courses specifically to achieve this goal, but don’t find success. There are no guarantees, of course, especially not when it comes to the chaotic business landscape.

Students are especially unprepared for the business world. However, the dream of creating and managing our own business remains very tempting, regardless. We should then consider how students can ready themselves for entering the business world.

Be the right person

Regardless of how much we might want to run our own business, we need to be realistic about our limitations. No one is perfect, of course, but we should recognise where our strengths lie.

The Wall Street Journal has a very useful guide that helps highlight our limitations. For example, how enthused we are about our product or service is the heart of our business. It can keep our business going when little else can.

As the Guide says: “Your enthusiasm for your product or service — whether it’s hand-knit sweaters or top-notch tax preparation — is often the difference that hooks customers, lands deals and attracts investors.”

Fatigue and frustration is more certain than outright success. Dealing with the bad times speaks more to our strengths in business than dealing with success.

Know the industry

When we are in love with a certain industry, we’ll already be aware of the major players, spaces and trends. Indeed, knowledge is a result of and catalyst for our passion.

However, it doesn’t hurt to create more tools and read wider. We might be surprised that the industry we want to work in doesn’t operate the way we think.

Create a business plan

Students should consider practising how to outline their business idea, especially as it forms the backbone of everything they’ll be producing. As Entrepreneur highlights:

“[a business plan is] going to serve as the first impression for countless potential partners and investors, and it’s going to serve as a roadmap for your whole business — at least for the first several years.”

Getting this wrong, showing uncertainty and having little foresight of where the business will end up can be disastrous. Rather we find out now in our planning stages, than later when we’ve put actual resources into it.

Of course, all companies must manage risk in some way – meaning enterprise risk management and other interventions. For now, students must be able to be simple, clear and smart about what their business will eventually become.

Consult everyone

Don’t be afraid to speak to smarter people. We must not discuss our ideas with just anyone, of course, but we can’t be so protective no one can offer input.

We should already be surrounding ourselves with a powerful, insightful resource network. This will become essential before and during a business’ lifecycle. No business grows on its own.

Using these tips, students should be able to better prepare for their journey into the hazardous world of business.