The Entrepreneurial Student: 5 Major Benefits of Starting a Business in College
There aren’t too many college students that take the initiative to start a business during their time on campus. For one thing, many have no aspirations of managing their own business, while others simply wouldn’t have the first idea what kind of business to start, much less how to go about doing it. And the fact that you’re spending a ton of money on tuition, books, and everything else, and that most of your time is taken up with your studies probably play a role, as well. But for the student that has a killer idea and the motivation and energy to bring it to market while still in school, there could be any number of benefits, aside from eventual fame and fortune (you hope). Here are just a few reasons you might want to launch a business venture during your time in college.
- Access to a willing test audience. Established companies spend plenty of money on focus groups, target marketing, and all kinds of research designed to determine whether people want to buy what they’re selling, what they need to change in order to increase sales, and which demographics are interested in their products or services. When you start your business in college you already have access to a fairly open-minded group of potential test subjects. Of course, you may want to develop some kind of waiver and/or NDA, depending on what your business entails. And you might have to find a means of paying your subjects for their time (pizza or product, perhaps), although asking for volunteers will likely still net you some willing candidates.
- Access to funding options. You’ve no doubt taken some student loans, and with no property for collateral you might have some trouble getting approval for business loans on your own. However, there are funding options available to you that other business startups might not enjoy. There are scholarships and grants, just for example, aimed at student entrepreneurs. And with Kickstarter and social media on your side, you might be able to spread your idea to enough other students to get the money you need to launch your company.
- Access to talent. There’s probably no other time in your life when you’ll have such unfettered access to talented people as during your time in college. You can approach students that have a variety of backgrounds and specialties to help you out with your venture, often for free or with the promise of credit for their work or even a job down the road. Many of your fellow students would love to come out of college with a business project already on their resume. So utilizing the resources available to you is a great reason to start your professional pursuits before you graduate.
- Access to expert advice. If you keep up good relationships with professors after graduation, they may still be willing to offer you mentorship and advice down the line. But they’re obviously going to be more invested in devoting their time and effort to their current students, so picking their brains during the time you spend in school can only be to your benefit when it comes to your startup.
- Getting a jump on the competition. Whether you’re getting an¬†online MBA degree or you’ve got your sights set on Harvard, you’ll likely find that landing a decent job before you graduate is not quite as easy as you thought it would be. Even if you do everything right, acing your classes and securing a fantastic internship at a prestigious company, it could still take you some time after graduation to find gainful employment. When you start your own business, however, you’ll come out of college with a job already lined up (as head of your own company) and possibly even a decent income. Better yet, you won’t find yourself competing with your fellow grads for a handful of jobs.