For many people, starting a business is the culmination of decades of experience and insights. Only after spending 20 years or so in an industry or related field, often working as an employee for another company, will someone finally have the confidence, determination, and means to launch their own enterprise.
However, some people just can’t wait that long. Increasingly, aspiring entrepreneurs are deciding to launch their first business while still attending college. They open up shop while simultaneously scheduling their next semester classes. They process orders in between lectures, or troubleshoot when they aren’t studying. They are determined to be both a student and a startup rolled into one.
Running a startup from a dorm is possible as proven by the success stories of Facebook, Greek U, and other companies which saw their launch in dormitories rather than in office buildings. With that said, the process is nothing to be taken lightly. Regardless of the setting in which a company is started, the basic principles of running a successful enterprise still apply. Real capital is at stake and irresponsible management will swiftly lead to the startup getting closed down.
With this in mind, those interested in starting a company from their dorm room should start by reviewing a few important tips on how to juggle school and business:
If you are selling inventory, you need a well-managed logistics system. While you live inside of a dorm, find a place to store the inventory without it being stolen or vandalized. If a self-storage unit is needed, that’s an additional cost to consider. Use tools to track the inventory that’s sold and shipped out. Decide if you want to use logistics management software or a simple notepad. Overall, you need a highly organized system to manage all of this information whenever you have sales.
Set a Business Budget
Money is the foundation of every business. You don’t need a lot of money to launch one, but you must learn how to manage the steady stream of profits that you start receiving. Most young people get overwhelmed when they see large amounts of money come in regularly. They want to spend it immediately on material things for themselves. Without a budget, you won’t have enough to buy new inventory or repair equipment when there’s a problem. Create and follow a budget that allows you to continue operating your business efficiently.
Plan a Schedule
You cannot reduce your role as a college student to become a budding business owner. A college degree is the backup plan that you need in case your business fails. You are more likely to graduate from college than to succeed in running a business within your dorm.
Create a schedule that divides half of your time for schoolwork and slightly less than half for running a business. For many students who plan, they still find that running a business takes up too much of their time. Know when it’s time to hire new employees for help or put the business on hold temporarily.
Make Realistic Goals
The most important goal for every entrepreneur is to be realistic. You could have enough money to run a business and a team of workers to support you, but you cannot survive without good business sense. With enough common sense in management and advertising, you could be more successful than people who have degrees in business administration.
Start with a list of realistic goals for your ventures. Think less like a typical college student who only wants to socialize in his or her free time. Think more about using your spare time to improve your skills and learn more about your industry of choice.
There are some business ideas that cannot wait until you finish college. Some ideas are profitable and require little capital to start. Anyone can start an online business, too, without needing an office or rental space. Starting a business from within a dorm and while you attend college is still a challenge. Start by planning the venture in detail, making sure that you can balance your life at school and at work.