Having trouble with getting money for your basic needs in school? Or do you have so much money and not know what you can use it for, to make more profit?
Well, if you fall in any of these groups of people then you’ve come to the right place. The best option you want to consider is starting your own business in school.
On the other hand, you may not find yourself among the two categories of people listed above. You, however, have a passion for starting and running your own business for what so ever reason. Well in this post, I present to a complete yet simplified guide on how to build a business in school that will earn you a substantial income.
Your goal with starting your own business in school will be to achieve profitability which in most cases will enable you to support yourself in school. Also, for those who have money, you will be looking at investing this money in an entity that you start in order to generate more income and make more impact.
There could be several reasons why you would want to start a business in school. However, the idea of making some profits is basic and almost always universal. So, let’s proceed to how to do it.
What do you need to consider when starting your own business in school?
This video explains the top 4 things you need to consider when starting a business in school.
Capital or resources needed
“Building a successful business requires a combination of human capital, financial resources, market opportunity, persistence, community support, and even luck” – Andrew Yang.
Inc.com explains capital as “the money or wealth needed to produce goods and services.” Click here for a detailed explanation
So, basically capital in terms of money refers to the amount that you will need to start your business with and to some extent run it during the period when you’re not profitable yet.
The later part too is very important and most of the time, people who start business forget to take a look at that. The fact is you’re highly unlikely to make any profit within the first few days or months of business. How do you expect to run your business without any money?
So, you need to consider how much money will be needed to start the business and how much will be needed to keep it afloat until you start seeing some positive cash flow.
Since you’re starting a business in school most likely with the intention of making extra cash to sustain yourself, there could be the issue of not having so much money on you to invest in your idea.
In such situations, you should look for a business that is less capital intensive. That is to say, you will need to pick a business idea that requires less money to start and also less money to keep running until you start making some profits.
Types of capital
Furthermore, capital can extend to more than just money. Some other types of capital need to be looked at when looking forward to starting a business. These may include
This may include the knowledge, skills, experience, health, attitudes, and motivation that you require to turn a business idea into an actual money-making entity.
As such, before you start any business, you want to evaluate your human capital and ensure that you either have what it takes to start the business.
Or you should be ready to hire people usually colleagues since you may be based on a campus that have the required human capital.
Social and relationship capital:
This consists of teams, networks, groups of individuals working together, and includes their shared intellectual capital.
To be successful in any business, you will need people to trust you to either work with you or buy from you. So, your social capital is centered on how many people will trust you to work with you or to buy or to use your products/services.
What are you passionate about?
Another key thing to consider when looking to start a business in school is to try finding out about the things that you’re passionate about. Passion trumps a lot of things when it comes to building a successful business in school.
This is because combining academics with the duties of a young CEO or business person is not an easy task. As such, you want to be doing something that you’re passionate about. This will help you easily navigate the difficult times when they come.
Go ahead and ask yourself the question “what I’m I passionate about?” and “what would I love doing even when I have less energy for it?”.
Your honest answers to these two questions would point you in the right direction towards your passion.
Who are you and what type of business suits you?
Knowing yourself is a fundamental requisite to being able to build and manage a business successfully. This goes beyond just knowing what you’re passionate about.
It entails, doing a complete SWOT analysis of yourself as an individual. Get to know what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are.
In running, a business, knowing this, is a great asset and you can rely on it to achieve some great feats.
Your personality and beliefs in life will also influence the kind of businesses you may want to indulge in. Therefore, knowing yourself is very important to determine the kind of business that will suit you.
Can you combine your business with your academics (know yourself)?
More so, you want to know how well you’re able to manage your time, deal with stress and many more. The question I always ask people thinking of starting a business in school is “Do you think you can combine your academics with running a business and succeed at both?”.
People are quick to assume that they can combine their academics with running a business and do both successfully.
They only get to know how difficult this is along the line and unfortunately, most of these people stop even earlier than you always expect of them.
It is, therefore, a matter of being honest with yourself. The genuine problem is that sometimes, you’re not sure of what exactly you can withstand or not until you find yourself in there.
Thus, if you do a thorough analysis of yourself and come to terms with the idea of starting a business, then you want to get yourself a strong motivation and learn to become as disciplined in your dealings as possible.
The process of starting a business in school
Identify a problem:
Starting a business begins with looking for a problem and trying to solve that problem. Since you want to start a business in school, you have to take a good look around your campus for problems that you can solve to make money.
Usually, most people begin by trying to figure out their own pressing problems on the campus. That is to say “What problem are you facing currently that you require an urgent solution and how much are you willing to pay for the solution?”.
Does anything come to mind? If it does then you probably have a business idea, to begin with. If not, go ahead to find out what common problems your colleagues are having.
What I advise people to do, is to keep a logbook for problems around them. So, you should get a small book that you list things that people complain about often. With time, think through the problems and find out what you can do to solve some of them.
This may help you easily come up with lots of business ideas, from which you’re are likely to find the perfect one that will suit your personality and available capital.
Validate the idea by doing some primary survey
The next thing you want to do after coming up with a good business idea is to validate the idea. You can read this article too: A great business idea doesn’t make a successful business what does?
How do you validate your business idea in school?
I usually undertake a primary survey by asking my colleagues in class and my roommates, and I recommend this method for you.
It’s good to start interrogating people who you know, about your idea for some basic reasons;
- You can easily explain yourself to people you know.
- They’re likely to give you great feedback concerning whether the idea is good or bad.
- You would probably also know it when they’re not telling you the truth.
Moreover, the people closest to you may also have similar problems as yourself. So, if you’re trying to solve a problem that you suffer from, chances are that they may also benefit from it and would want to know about the solution that you’re proposing.
However, after this initial phase of the primary survey, you want to consider asking people outside your circles. Try and identify other people outside your friends and close colleagues who may be suffering from that particular problem. Ask them what they think of a solution like what you’re proposing.
At least, by this time, you’ll have a fair idea of how profitable your idea may be or not. This will, therefore, help you decide whether to proceed with it or not.
Introduce your solution
If the findings from your primary survey are favorable and you think you should proceed, then you what to go ahead and build the solution. The type of solution will depend on the kind of problem you are solving.
This could be in the form of a product that you’re going to sell or a service that you’re going to render. In case, it’s a product, you want to take time to build a minimum viable product (MVP).
Watch this video by Railsware academy to know what an MVP is and how to build one
If it is a service that you’re going to provide, then you want to put in place all the necessary measures to begin the business. Do you need a website, email, Facebook or WhatsApp group?
The basic question here is “What do I need to put in place in order to start this service business?” The video below from Evan Carmichael throws more light on it.
Start making your first customers
Now, that you’re ready to run your business, all you’re left with is customers.
“Every company’s greatest assets are its customers because without customers there is no company” – Michael LeBoeuf
Usually, you want to sell your product or render your service for your close allies. You can even decide to sell it to them at a subsidized price and in return, ask them for feedback on the product or service and how to improve it.
This is one of the main reasons why having social and relationship capital as discussed earlier is very important.
Also, these friends of yours will not only serve as your first customers but would also help you spread the word about your business and help attract more customers.
Marketing your business
The final step to building a business is to market it to potential customers. Since your business is going to be campus-based, the strategies to employ in marketing may vary for each campus.
In this regard, you would also want to undertake a small survey to know which marketing strategies to employ on your campus.
You can do this by analyzing your competitors or any successful business on your campus. Find out how they’re able to reach as many customers as possible and what they could be doing to increase their patronage that they’re aren’t doing.
Once you identify these, you can then go ahead and implement these marketing strategies to draw in more customers for your business.
If you’re not any good at marketing, you can build a team around you usually using your friends who will be responsible for marketing your business.
It is important for you to note that marketing is a key component of your business and it will determine whether you make or break it. Don’t relegate it, thinking that once you build a successful product or provide a wonderful service, the people will just come. This has led to the failure of most businesses and hence you want to pay particular attention to it.
Starting and running your own business in school is not an easy task but it is very rewarding and it is something worth giving a shot.
Apart from making money from it, having a business in school comes with a lot of benefits which may extend beyond your days at school.
I hereby advise you to go for it if you see yourself as eligible and ready to build a business while in school.
How important is it for students to start their own businesses while in school? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by:Ehoneah Obed <[email protected]>