Colleges are peppered with a variety of facilities that students can use to help launch their own business. They can also tap into professors or people who run incubator centers for advice.
When a student is working toward how to start a business in college, it is important to remember that the business should be considered with every project or assignment.
1. Decide on a business idea
Starting a business as a college student is a great way to earn extra income and gain valuable work experience. Many colleges have resources available to support student entrepreneurs, including grants and accelerators.
Some good business ideas for college students include: cleaning, transcription services, and delivery driving. Other options include selling handmade goods, tutoring younger children, and writing service. Developing and selling a product can also be lucrative, but it can require significant investment.
2. Get a business plan
College students have different interests, shopping habits and pricing sensitivity than older people. This should be reflected in the ideal customer and how you plan to market your business.
Start a dropshipping or print-on-demand business selling trending products or offer a service business like cleaning or tutoring. These types of businesses require less upfront investment and can be run while a student is in school.
4. Develop a business model
A business model is a set of assumptions that determines the way a company creates, delivers and captures value. It includes the customer base, level of investment, product offerings and revenue streams.
To develop a business model, find out what customers really want and need from your product or service. Use templates like the lean startup canvas or Aha! Roadmaps to help you articulate the model.
5. Find a mentor
College students are often very busy with school, classes, homework, and socializing. Running a business can be a great way for them to make extra money and also help them build their professional network.
A mentor can answer your questions and provide you with advice on a range of topics. They can also recommend workshops and events to attend. When approaching a potential mentor, be casual and informal.
7. Get an LLC and Tax ID
Many college students start businesses that involve services such as baby or pet sitting, house cleaning, writing and content delivery. These can be lucrative and provide flexible taxation.
Regardless of the type of business, it is important to get an EIN and Tax ID. It helps to add credibility to the business and can be useful when opening a bank account or applying for credit cards.
8. Get a website
A website is a collection of Web pages that can contain text, graphics and other media. Websites can be used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, education, news and business.
College websites must engage today’s restless, impatient prospective students. This requires careful planning to provide the right information at the right time — and offer the personalization that students expect.
The most popular types of websites for students are blogs, portfolios and professional profiles.
9. Get a business license
The business licensing process varies from state to state, and it is essential to get all of the requisite licenses before starting your business. Failure to do so can result in fines and penalties and can also put your personal assets at risk.
Start by determining which licenses you need at the federal, state and local levels. New York’s official website has tools available that can help you figure out what you need.
10. Get a marketing plan
College students are a valuable market. They are tech-native, have high discretionary spending power, and can be a great source of feedback for your business.
Tona’s professor encouraged her to enter the school’s business plan competition. She won, which gave her validation and a little seed money. She also learned invaluable lessons in conducting interviews.