Sunday, August 28, 2016

9 Tips to Startup for Student Entrepreneurs

As a young startup, it is important to understand some of what you will be getting yourself in for.  While each "journey" can be quite different, following a basic set of hints and tips will give you a better chance of success.  Here's a couple of ideas to help you on your way:
1. Be inspired and learn from others’ mistakes
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. . . learn about others’ mistakes, then learn from them.

2. Get some experience
Understand your market.  If you want to sell bread, make sure you know not only what type of bread people buy, but how it is made and when the optimum time to sell is.  Work in the industry you want to sell in.  First hand experience is crucial.

3. Understand your customer
So important!  Have you actually talked to potential customers? How do you know your idea is good? Or have you assumed you now what they think?  The only way to know if your idea is saleable is to ask complete strangers if they would pay for your product.  Look for potential customers, and ask. 

4. Learn about your competition
Who else is out their doing what you’re about to do?  Find their strengths, find their weaknesses and exploit them.  Find your niche.

5. Draft a business plan
Doesn’t have to be super formal, but at least go over each aspect of your idea to ensure you have covered all the important parts.  Business model canvas can help you with this.

6. Find a mentor
Find someone who has been there, done that, and lived to tell about.  Mentors can be extremely valuable, and many entrepreneurs are more than willing to offer advice to young startups.

7. Be lean
Start small.  Work from home, or from a free co-working space.  Boot strap (raise money from friends and family only) first, and for as long as you can.  Don’t hire until you have to. 

8. Be cautious
Make sure to save for a rainy day.  Just because you have sales today doesn’t mean there will be sales tomorrow.  Forward plan and ensure you put money back into the business for when you need it.

9 Tips to Startup for Student Entrepreneurs
9. Learn for free
Find places where you can learn about the basics of business.  There are many places locally, which provide this sort of service, including the Launchpad, the Oxford Hub and Oxford Entrepreneurs.  There are also plenty of Accelerators or Incubators for extra learning and support.


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