Tips on starting your own business at university

The very fact that you are at a reputable university studying for a degree qualification means that the chances are you are planning a career in a fantastic industry once you leave. Many students will obtain jobs at some of the biggest brands in the UK and beyond, and some will decide to take the plunge and start their own companies.

Unfortunately, many sectors are such these days that competition is rife. The internet has created a marketplace that is more competitive than it has ever been making it more and more difficult to succeed – in fact 50 per cent of start-ups tend to last less than five years.

The sad fact of the matter is that it doesn’t just take intelligence to run a successful business as there is a number of other factors at play; such as luck and even experience.

One way students can get that competitive edge is to start their own business whilst still at university. Although this may feel like a good way to add extra pressure on oneself during crucial periods of study, it is a tactic that many entrepreneurs decide to take and can often be done alongside seminars and lectures as you learn new skills.

In the latest Almero Student Mansions feature, we take a look at some of the best tips for starting your own business at university and how you can use them to give your start up the very best chance of success when the time comes to enter the world of business.

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Learn Business Skills

A mistake many students make is to think that just because they have gained excellent grades at university, that this guarantees their product will be a huge success. This is unfortunately just part of the battle as you will need to make sure there is a genuine need for your company’s offering and of course, that people are aware that it exists.

You may well have one of the best products on the market, but you will need funding, a clear business plan and a solid marketing strategy to even start about thinking taking on the more established players in your chosen sector.

Your university’s careers department and advisors or even your lecturers, should you be studying for a business-related degree, will be able to help you with this. At the end of the day it could well come down to how much business nous you have and how appealing your product is to customers.

Investigate Your Market

We’ve touched on marketing already, which is crucial to a successful business, but this goes a bit deeper and really getting under the skin of the market you are entering is ever so vital.

This goes back to the theme of not presuming that because you have a great degree qualification, that your product will be the best in its industry; you need to ensure there is a genuine demand and that it is proving attractive to its audience.

There are all sorts of tools available online that can help you to discover more about your sector, such as your competitors, consumer habits and online interest. Unless your product is ever so niche, then you will probably rely on a web audience so be sure to find out just how many people are searching for your products.

Plan Your Funding

Although you can start doing these things whilst at university, and we recommend doing so as this will mean your business has been thoroughly researched, one thing that could be tricky is funding.

Banks may be hesitant to lend a student money whilst they are still at university unless your business plan is extremely solid and there is a good reason why you need the money immediately.

They may have low faith that you can put the required efforts into your business when you are still busy at lectures, seminars and completing your exams.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t start to get the ball rolling. Plans, plans and yet more plans are the key to a good business so that no stone is left unturned and your business is watertight, and the funding aspect is of course the one that can make or break your fortunes.

There are various options available to you, from angel investors to receiving funding from friends and family but these all have risks and it is important that you consider this aspect of your new business as carefully as you can and take the right advice from the people.

Take Your Time

Finally, we recommend taking your time with your business plans. At the moment, your priority should most definitely be your degree and sacrificing grades in order to get your business going isn’t prudent at all, you have all the time in the world to build your company and as we have mentioned, careful planning is paramount.

Follow these tips and we believe your company will have a great chance of success but just don’t get ahead of yourself and rush into things, as this can be the reason many businesses fail in the early years.