As early as now, you should learn about entrepreneurship if you see starting a business as the more rewarding career path and don’t want to get stuck in a 9-to-5 desk job.
Don’t allow your youth or lack of knowledge to deter you from coming up with an idea for your entrepreneurial venture. Just take a look at Mark Zuckerberg, who came up with the idea for what is now known as Facebook while studying at Harvard. Or look up to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google, who started working on the search engine during their time in Stanford.
Balancing your coursework and entrepreneurial dream can be challenging, but these two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By following these tips, you can be a successful student entrepreneur and be ready to grow your business once you graduate from university.
Bridge the gap between school and business.
Choose a major and pick out classes that are closely related to your business idea. This way, you’ll meet professors who are knowledgeable about the business you want to get into, and also have more time to practice on your business endeavours.
Feel free to experiment.
Use this time to come up with ideas for your business regardless of how outrageous they are. With friends and classmates nearby, you’ll have a ready pool of potential users and access to unlimited feedback – which may not be readily available once you graduate.
Write your business plan.
Got time to spare in between your classes? Instead of bingeing on Netflix, use this time to come up with a business plan. This is a document that provides a description of your product or service, and an overview of your business. This document should also include a marketing strategy, competitor analysis, funding request, financial information, and many more.
Network like there’s no tomorrow.
Attend networking events and meetups, and join business organisations near your University of Alberta off-campus housing. These activities give you a chance to meet, connect, and collaborate with fellow students who share the same passions as you. Browse the UA alumni directory and search for entrepreneurs in your field. You’ll be surprised at how many of them will be willing to help. Now would also be a good time to find a mentor willing to take you on and give you a leg up.
Take on a part-time job.
Better if the job is related to the industry you want to get into. By working in the trenches, you’ll learn how to solve real-life problems, improve communication, and grow your professional network.
Take a calculated risk.
This is the time to take small risks on small business projects. Even if things don’t work out, learn from your mistakes so you don’t fail at the same thing twice. It’s not about succeeding immediately – it’s about moving on and succeeding the next time.
Take advantage of campus resources.
Check out the eHUB, which is the University of Alberta’s entrepreneurship centre, for resources, networking opportunities, and funding.
Use these tips to get your business off the ground. Your university years will provide you with the perfect opportunity to explore, develop, and grow your business.
Jumping into entrepreneurship before you graduate is a rewarding experience, and can make your business turn into reality sooner than you think.