If the regular 9-to-5 workday is your worst nightmare, there is a way to avoid it. Many students prefer starting their own business instead of living in fear of being fired or going to the job they hate to earn money. Starting your career as an entrepreneur is not as hard as it may seem. I prepared nine steps that will guide every college student through this challenging but rewarding process.
Step 1: Get an Idea
You need to know exactly what to start when you want to start a business. An entrepreneur must have an idea. If you can’t even come up with an idea, what kind of business are we talking about? You don’t have to be innovative and come up with something unimaginable. You can take a concept that is already working, analyze it, find some drawbacks in it, or just improve it as you see it, and it will turn into a new business. It is easier to enter the developed market than to form it yourself. And the idea should not be global; you can start a micro-business or business with minimal investment.
Step 2: Analyze the Market
After coming up with a business idea, you need to analyze the market, find out if people even need your product or service. Evaluate the competition, identify the advantages and disadvantages of your competitors, and find out what makes you different from them. Compare prices, quality of service, assortment (if it’s a product business), and look for the best you can do. This is a must. Once you have evaluated the demand and supply, and you have realized that you can compete with existing companies, you can move on.
Step 3: Outlining and Planning
You can compile a business plan for yourself and describe all the expenses, promotion options, everything you need for a start, determine the prices for your goods and services, a break-even point, planned income, etc. You are writing it for yourself, not for a bank or investor, so use the form that is more convenient for you to work with in the future. You make this to keep less information in your head. This way, you won’t forget to do anything, and you can later check the completed tasks and goals.
The plan also prescribes all the costs that you will bear in the first place and try to stick to them. I would highly recommend you to exaggerate with these figures. Most importantly, do not look for ready-made business plans. They mention the mean values, which, in fact, is very different from reality.
Step 4: Investment
You have to invest in any type of business. You can start a business without any money, but it is a rare situation, and you have to wait a long time for the results. In the previous step in business planning, you had to calculate how much money you would need in the initial stages of your business. Take the amount and add at least 20% more to it. This is just in case. It is better when there is little money left than not enough, and you have to look for it in an emergency mode.
Step 5: Validate Your Idea
The first thing you need is a quick test. Develop a minimum viable product or a service, launch a small advertising campaign, and try to sell it. This will help you to study the demand in practice. You need to look at your plan, highlight the minimum things you need in order to start right away. Delay of the launch is one of the mistakes the beginner entrepreneurs make as they are continually trying to improve something. You don’t need to perfect it. You need to start as soon as possible to test the idea in action, to get the first sales and continue to develop with enthusiasm.
If the start does not give the first sales, it is necessary to revise the plan, the idea, and look for mistakes. This validation will also help you to spend less time, effort, and money in case of a failure. It would be more annoying to have been preparing everything for a year and then fail. It’s less frustrating to understand your mistakes right away while you still have not done much. Thus, you can make adjustments as you go along, and everything will start to work out!
Step 6: Make It Legal
You must not miss this step as every business should be legal and registered. This will save you a lot of trouble in the future. This is especially important if you’re planning on taking out loans or seeking investors – says Joe Sturgess, Head of Marketing at LegalDrop.
Step 7: Business Development
Once you have validated your idea, the plan has been adjusted, and sales have begun smoothly, you can develop your business and refine to perfection everything you wrote in the plan. Now you can improve the website, increase warehouses or offices, expand staff, etc. When your idea and business model has shown its efficiency, it is easier for you to set more global goals.
Besides, you have already received money from the first orders or sales and can reinvest it in the development. If there is not enough cash, then you can take loans and credits, because business brings money. If you don’t need much money, you can even use a credit card.
Step 8: Active Marketing
Once you have already felt the firm ground under your feet, improved your website, hired more employees, expanded your facilities, etc., you need to provide all of this with work. For this, you need aggressive advertising to the maximum. You need to use a lot of marketing opportunities. Look for customers on the Internet, do offline advertising, direct sales, etc.. The more advertising tools you use, the better the result. But be sure to capture the results and filter out ineffective advertising tools so as not to drain budgets to nothing.
Step 9: Scaling
Your business works well, brings money, you are constantly developing, everything is great! But there are also related directions or neighbouring cities. If your business model has successfully fired in your town, you can make offices in others.
As you can see, all you need to become an entrepreneur is an interesting validated business idea and plan. Any concept can turn into a successful business as long as it helps the customers solve their problems or cover their needs. Your age has nothing to do with the desire to change the world and help other people with new solutions.
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By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make
Are you completely new to networking?
Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.
It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?
Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.
Rock up with confidence
If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.
Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!
Where to go networking
If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.
For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!
If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.
Get more leads and referrals
This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.
Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.
When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!
Grow your business
By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.
We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.
2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.
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