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January 2, 2013

Start a Business in College -Top 10 Reasons to Become a Collegiate Entrepreneur

Why you should start a business in college
Starting your own business has become not only easier over the past several decades, it has become a popular choice for college students and for the general public. There are many benefits of starting your own business. You could even look at how to start an online business first before you commit to all of the overheads that come from a local business like paying for offices, or getting a live answering services for a business etc. Among the obvious benefits are getting to work your own hours, increasing your income, and not having to deal with a boss. Although those benefits still exist for college students, there are others that are not always known.

This article highlights 10 reasons why every college student should start their own business. These businesses do not have to be the next Facebook or Apple computers, but getting something started has many great benefits.

– There's No Better Time:
It may not seem like it, but now is the perfect time to start a business if you are a college student. Not only do you have resources available at your fingertips (greater detail below), but you have time on your hands in between classes, little commitments, and nothing to lose.

Many college students are working part time or even full time just to stay in school and pay monthly bills. Despite these obligations, most college students do not yet have a family of their own, a full time job, and they do often have family support of some kind. In other words, there is no excuse for not trying to start something now.

– Networking/Contacts:
Friends made in college are often friends for life. The same can be said for contacts made in college. Professors, business owners with ties to the school, and students are all possible business contacts that can help you with your business and become customers. This support and network is extremely valuable as many schools will support your endeavors and help you make new connections and valuable contacts.

– Working with a Team:
Most businesses are sole proprietorship's, meaning they have only one owner. Even though most businesses are owned by one person, this does not mean that they do not have a team they work with including employees, advisors, and their customers. It is important to have an good relationship with your employers as they are the people who will help your business. If you want to improve your relationship with your team then you should consider doing something like these fun group activities. These interactions are important for learning how to work and become compatible with different types of people and their respective skill sets. What you will learn working on a team will not only help you in future endeavors, but will help you in any future job and personal relationships you may have.

When you decide to take the plunge and start a business, make sure to build a team of advisors and supporters even if you don't have actual employees. Learning how to manage others and how to become comfortable working with others is a very valuable skill.

– Available Resources:
Colleges & Universities have amazing resources available to their students, many will go undiscovered by most of the student body. If professors and deans are enough, look into the schools connections with local businesses, the libraries subscriptions with Biz Miner and other valuable report/market research services, and successful alumni.

Do not underestimate the power of using your status as a college student to get information needed to start your business. Businesses are much more likely to share information with a student, than with a current/future competitor.

Student Organizations
There are many student organizations available on campus with like-minded students and faculty that are willing to help. Among these organizations are many business related organizations and even entrepreneurship clubs. The Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization(CEO) has chapters on over 245 campuses and you can start an organization if one does on match what you are currently looking for.

A reason to get involved in a student organization is to help network with other students and to learn more about what you are passionate about, whether that is entrepreneurship, the arts, or the school newspaper. You may be able to work your business into what the organization is doing and expand it with help from others involved.

– Discover Yourself:
Have you really tested yourself yet? Do you know what you're capable of?

Whether you succeed in business or not does not measure who you are, but it will help you to discover your strengths, weaknesses, and what you are passionate about. What you tend to spend the most time on in your business is most likely what you enjoy the most. Use this information when deciding on a future career or another business to launch. You will work much harder and be able to spend more hours doing something you love than the parts of the business you can't stand.

– Access to Free Money:
Schools often have grants, scholarships, and competitions that are available to students interested in starting their own business, take advantage of it! Enter every business plan competition and elevator pitch competition available and speak with an advisor to see if any scholarships or grants are available to you.

– Put What You're Learning to Work:
Often students glaze over powerpoint slides and rarely read all of the lessons that are assigned to them. If you are actively applying what you are learning to a startup business, the likelihood of learning and retaining what has being taught is much greater.

– Resume' Builder:
There is no greater resume' item than having experience running your own business in a related field. Having experienced things as a business owner will also make you a better employee having experienced both sides of the business.

– Create your own Career
Kenny Nguyen of Big Fish Presentations did not know he was creating his own career when he started his own business while attending Louisiana State University. After seeing a presentation from a Fortune 500 executive, he realized that he could do much better. A year later, Kenny's company has income of over $150,000 and he recently dropped out of school to focus on his successful company. You never know, your startup could become more successful than you had ever imagined and you may not need that job that you had originally attended college to obtain.

Whatever business you want to start or field you want to get into after college, get out their now, you never know what you can accomplish and what you will learn from your experience.


Michael Luchies – National Growth & Programs Manager for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization.  The non-profit works with students and universities through 240+ chapters, events, competitions, and more.  (www.c-e-o.org) / Yahoo Network Contributor

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    1. Thanks Herby! I think college is a great time to start a business, but so is afterwards. It takes time to come up with a great idea to go forward with. Experience in the workplace is certainly good for some people as well. The important thing is that you are started and going for it! I love your blog, keep up all the great interviews!

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