How can you start a business as a student at entrepreneurship school?
- Look for funding
- Get referrals
- Ask help from professors
Entrepreneurship schools in the Philippines all have one goal in mind: To raise future businessmen and women by equipping their students with sufficient business skills and knowledge. If you are attending one right now, why should you wait until you graduate? Why not start now as a student?
The prospect of starting a business right now without a lot of money seems scary and being afraid is a reasonable response. But, right now, you have all the time in the world. When you enter adulthood, you may have more resources but it will be more difficult to find time to dedicate towards creating your own startup. You will naturally have more responsibilities to put into consideration and worry about.
If you’re still afraid of starting a business while studying at entrepreneurship school, these are the things you can do to make the whole process smoother and more fruitful:
Look for funding
When you are starting a business, your highest priority should be raising enough capital. Since you are a student and possibly have no job, you have no choice but to find capital through funding from outside sources. These are the different sources you can look into for funding.
If you approach formal loan lenders like banks and venture capital companies, your business idea most likely won’t sway them to give you money since you have zero professional experience as a management course student. They don’t think your starting brand will have enough sales to pay back the loan.
Angel investors, on the other hand, are more lenient. These investors are informal and could be your friends, family members, and neighbors. They are called angels because they are willing to help small brands start with their own money and don’t necessarily expect any returns at all.
These people can be helpful to your business’s growth because they are more interested in seeing you build a spot in the industry.
Business incubator programs
Universities, especially entrepreneurship schools in the Philippines, want to provide opportunities for students to implement their business ideas. To help them bring their ideas to life, universities created their own incubator programs.
These programs vary per college. Some institutions can offer their students loans, while others do not. Instead, they give people opportunities to network with investors or help in formulating their business plan.
Attend business plan competitions
To foster entrepreneurship among students, universities encourage students to attend business plan competitions. Here, students form teams. Each team has to come up with a business plan and the team with the best proposal wins a cash prize.
If you are planning to do a startup with other people, there is no harm in trying to generate funds through a competition.
When you are just starting a new business, getting referrals is the best start to building a customer base. Word-of-mouth referrals are very efficient because people put a lot of trust in the recommendations of their friends and family.
So how do you make your business well known among the crowd? There are many ways to do it.
You can first start building popularity by providing good customer service on campus. Impress your batch mates by consistently providing high-quality products and building rapport with them. People naturally become more loyal to start-ups who not only serve them well but also reaches out to them on a personal level.
After perfecting the concept of service, it is time for your business to start building a reputable online presence. To build an online presence, you should check out online reviews and social media.
Review sites, like Google My Business, are a blessing and a curse to small brands. It can be a blessing because you get honest and useful customer feedback. On the other hand, it is a curse because negative online reviews have a serious impact on people’s perception of your business. Whether you like it or not, there will always be customers who are dissatisfied with an aspect of your business and it is your job to handle these issues. The more customer problems you fix, the better your reputation will be.
Social media, on the other hand, can be used to personalize your presence. With a Facebook page, for example, you can share interesting content about your brand and start conversations with followers. When you become active on social media, users inevitable start to see you as something more than just a “company”. They start to see your brand as interesting, become more attracted, and help you increase your audience reach by sharing your content with other people.
Ask help from professors
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the activities that come with starting a business in college. Thus, it is recommended that you get expert help from people with more experience. Fortunately, you can easily find them on campus, in the form of your professors.
Management course professors usually have a lot of experience in matters of business and their experiences can potentially answer many of your questions. Additionally, they may even offer to mentor if you develop a good relationship with them later on. If you plan on getting advice from your professors, you have to do it the right way. Approach them first in person, and ask if they are comfortable with answering questions through email or face to face.
If you are too afraid to talk to them in person or through email, you can get help in a subtler way. Instead of one-on-one conversation, you can ask business-minded questions during class when they are relevant to the current lesson.
Entrepreneurship school is the best place to start a business. As a student, you not only have the time, but you also have a multitude of opportunities at your fingertips. First, you have people and programs to go for funding. Second, you have a potential customer base in the form of your campus batch mates. Lastly, professors can offer you advice and tips in relation to running a business.