It’s not easy to start a business from scratch, and less so if you hope that it will be a successful one. However, there is a lot of potential in college towns for student startups to find success. The startup culture has such a strong presence in today’s society that more than 50% of students today are hoping to become an entrepreneur by the time they graduate and here’s how to get two feet off the ground.
Adjust your mindset: success or solution?
Too many students want to be a founder because they see so many success stories floating around and they imagine that they could be the next big thing. However, that is the wrong perspective to have. Students should be thinking about what problems they want to fix. Finding solutions is a long term goal for success. If you’re just throwing ideas out there without rhyme or reason, it goes to show that you are not ready to set up a business because you don’t understand the fundamentals of it. It isn’t about gaining as much money or fame as possible, but to find something that society currently lacks and fill that void. It’s about creating demand.
Understand your industry
When you have locked in on a particular industry you see potential in – perhaps fashion and how unsustainable it is, and you want to be the fix to help it go green. It’s not enough to recognize the needs, but it is equally important to figure out how to implement change and you cannot do that from the outside. Get an internship and do lots of research to learn about the manufacturing process and see where fashion can cut down on its carbon footprint. Most people would focus on the materials, and while that is a good portion of where waste comes from, there is also the question of logistics and factories that release carbon emissions. How about the farms that produce the wool or forests that supply cotton? Those are all a part of the ecosystem of fashion and it will help if you understand every aspect of it before trying to fix it.
Start implementing your ideas on a small scale
While you are still in college, do not stress yourself out by trying to be an overnight sensation. Good things take time and you should be planning and carefully executing your ideas, developing it as a side project, growing alongside you and your degree. It will not do to chuck your entire education away because you think you’ve found “the one”. There are no guarantees in life, but you should try to build safety nets for yourself and having a degree to certify your qualifications is one of them.
Advice from other student founders and studentpreneurs
Do not try to chase too many ideas – one is more than enough. Make use of student portals and campus clubs, you might find your co-founder or partner at one of these communities, or have the opportunity to share ideas (or find a better one). Creativity inspires creativity and if you’re trapping yourself in your dorm room, you’re trapping your ideas. Finally, education doesn’t stop when you graduate, it continues on and you should never stop chasing knowledge.