Starting a Successful Business in College – On a Limited Budget
BY EMMA BONNEY
The number of successful businesses started by college students in their parent’s garages is sometimes s strong enough motive for many to start their own businesses – starting from college. You may have a great business idea, but you don’t have money. What do you do? Starting a company from 0 and with almost as many finances is not a talent with which you are born, is a learned skill. However, jumpstarting your own business before you even finish college might be facilitated by school networks and resources, even when the budget is tight. Keep reading below for a little guidance and smart tips to use on the way.
Create a customer base
You may have an idea, but before starting your business per se, you should research the market and see if your idea might be of use to anybody. In other words, you should create a customer base before putting money and efforts into your idea. To find out how the market will react to your enterprise, products and services, you need to sell and test a product in the market. Measure how much success your prototype has and this will offer you a better idea on your customer base. Having sales before having a successful business is a thing that most small entrepreneurs should look forward to, but so many, unfortunately, neglect.
Tempt potential clients with an inexpensive prototype
If you want to test how successful your product or service will be locally and not only, you have to create an inexpensive prototype and test how the market reacts. Having the actual final product in hand helps for sure, but in most of the cases, this is not feasible or even essential. You want your audience to understand the simple logic behind the product or service. Most of them will be able to understand how it is supposed to work and how it might come in handy. Expose some key features they might help you differentiate your product from your competitors’, several photos of how the product is supposed to look in the sale stage, these will be enough to your customer base.
Hire affordable branding services
You will, of course, have to put some efforts in branding. This will help you build an enterprise that will be easy to recognize in the market by the visuals alone. The logo, the motto, the colors, these will all matter, ultimately. But since you’re a student with not that much money to spend on branding efforts, you should look into affordable and reliable branding tools. The specialists at Tailor Brands automated branding tools explain that you should search for tools that are able to deliver state-of-the-art, customizable logo services at affordable rates.
You will be tempted by these tools more when you find out that the whole process takes under five minutes and the results, as those who already tried such tools say, quite impressive, quality-wise. Remember that your branding efforts should be consistent enough to help you create a strong brand image on the local market and to allow you in the future to compete with your bigger competitors.
Use crowdfunding to fund product development
In the product development phase, you might feel the lack of appropriate finances more than until now. Given the fact that you already have some feedback from your customer base, and you have already tested the market readiness, you can start a crowdfunding campaign. Inform your fellow students and also your professors. They may be interested in contributing to developing a great product and helping a small college student-owned enterprise start off.
Before you start your Kickstarter campaign, make sure that you handle the following.
- Read the Kickstarter rules and make sure that you fully understand them. Get accustomed to the requirements and check if you meet those as you go.
- Have a business plan already designed before you launch your Kickstarter campaign. In fact, the crowdfunding part should be mentioned in your business plan.
- Get an editor to review your business plan before launching. They should also review your website content and make sure that it is error-free, as well as your crowdfunding project.
- Create a presentation video. If you want to boost your funding chances, try to create a presentation video for your idea. People will feel more engaged and tempted to contribute to your goal. See if any colleagues of yours have the necessary experience to help you with this.
- Have a plan B. While funding is highly possible through platforms like Kickstarter, there is no guarantee that yours will have the anticipated success. Have a plan B, just in case. Your safety net plan could be anything, from a college fundraising event to borrowing money from your relatives.
A bit about myself:
Emma Bonney is a successful blogger whose articles aim to help readers with self-development, Women’s Empowerment, Education, entrepreneurship and content management.