In time for Global Entrepreneurship Week, third-year Marketing student Giovanni Morgan of Kent Business School and founder of denim customisation service brand MGX Jeans has provided his tips for students open to starting a business. He said:
- Start with your interests
The reality is that operating a business whilst in study isn’t the easiest thing to do in the world. The study deadlines combined with the pressure of customers is more than enough to handle. Start with your interests and remember that a fully functional business isn’t your only option. Freelancing services, content creation and even your favourite hobbies can all prove to be both lucrative and enjoyable!
- Seek the advice that’s available
So you’ve assessed your options and have chosen a business. The next step is to seek advice. Your university will always have resources, communities and personnel dedicated to helping you. From the library, ebooks, open workshops, mentors to advisor programmes such as Kent’s Business Start-up Journey, there’s always something available to help you on your business endeavours. Seek and make use of all the advice available.
- Be passionate
You’ll want to start your business in something you’re passionate about or really enjoy. In doing so, not only will you enjoy the time spent on your business but you’ll also reduce the probability of burnout or procrastination, ultimately allowing you to invest more effort and progress faster. As the saying goes, “do something you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life”.
- Research and plan
Take time to thoroughly research everything about the business and market you’ll be entering, including its demands such as financial barriers, possible licensing, skills/experience needed and, of course, your competition. Once you’ve done all the necessary research, you can create and execute an effective business plan.
- Manage and prioritise time
The life of a student-entrepreneur is ultimately one of sacrifice as you’ll quickly find that your business takes up a lot of that free time. Effective time allocation and management will help you to stay on course. Know your priorities and be prepared to make sacrifices for them. Learn to say no.
- Remember funding & budgeting
All businesses require investment; time investment, effort investment and, most importantly, financial investment. As a small business your sources of funding should initially come from your personal savings, but budgeting is also important. When your study books, travel and groceries are all taken care of, be sure to keep enough funds around to keep your business afloat during rocky months.
- Integration with studies
Most courses at university will allow you to have some freedom of choice in the modules you take. This is the perfect opportunity to merge your entrepreneurship interests with your course. Entrepreneurship, marketing, accounting, and more business related modules are typically available for second/third year undergraduates and are a great way to bridge both worlds.
Networking at university is severely underrated. From the array of specialised students to the vastly knowledgeable lecturers, university is one of the most effective places to make business connections to help the journey of your enterprise. This all begins with networking, so connect with people and get to know more about them – they might be looking for someone like you!
- Be resilient
Being a student entrepreneur isn’t easy. It’s likely that there will be challenging times when you feel like giving up. However, it’s often when we feel like giving up that we’re closest to a breakthrough. Add that to the countless benefits of running a business whilst in studies such as the experience, standing out from the crowd, and you’ll quickly understand that all the hard work is completely worth it! Keep going.
- Enjoy your business
Obviously the hard work of studies and your business are vital, but remember to take time to enjoy the process you’re going through. You may look back on these early stages of your business fondly, so take the time every now and then to take stock and enjoy what you’re doing and what you’re achieving with every day you keep at it.