A Student Entrepreneur's Checklist
Someone once said, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.” If you’re one of those people who started living those few years as a student, you would know that being a student entrepreneur is not easy. Balancing academics and other intricacies of college life with entrepreneurship is a task most find too difficult to perform.
To ease that task, we have tried to come up with a few necessary ingredients that would probably make up the “Ideal student entrepreneur” recipe. Additional masala and flavours according as your taste!
An entrepreneur's goal is to develop products and services which help people solve problems and at the same time have sustainable and scalable business models.
The idea doesn't necessarily have to be revolutionary, it should be innovative and should capture the user's imagination. Preferably work on something you are strong at or something you are really passionate about. Go as wild as your imagination will take you. Try different things before you begin to consolidate. As a student, you have nothing to lose.
2. Money (Bootstrapping or raising external capital)
Money, the most basic need to startup might also be the hardest to generate. The best source of money is you, if you have enough to sustain yourself at least for 6 months. Bootstrapping is the way to go for any startup. It is hard to generate money, especially at the idea stage. Start off with some initial capital yourself, build traction for your product and then raise money from investors.
The most crucial part of starting up is to get on board people who share the same passion and vision for developing the product. Look around you and look closely.
Leverage your networks. As a student team, a diverse set of people might be healthy but could also create chaos. Make sure you pick people with cordial and rational personalities with the right mix of technical knowledge, people skills, ideation and convincing powers in the team. Having a dreamer, a critique and a rational person on the team can help a lot with brainstorming sessions.
4. Do your homework
Gather information about the target market, customers and competitors, analyze it to build on your strengths, work on your weaknesses, highlight your opportunities and counter threats. If there are similar products already available in the market, be very clear with the differentiation of your product. Clear goals, a clear vision and a clear mission will really help in the long run.
Like we said earlier, as a student, you have nothing to lose. With your vision embedded in your brain, try different things. Try new things. Be hungry. Go crazy. Love what you do. Don’t stop. Don’t give up.
6. Find the right mentors
Look towards teachers, professors, alumni, and whoever has experience. As a young student team, mentorship is invaluable. Be it legal issues, funding, technical expertise, your mentors will guide you and show you the way. They will bring stability and reassurance when you need it. It is very important to have faith in an external body which is backed by experience.
7. Friends and family
Entrepreneurship can be consuming. Often, as an entrepreneur, you tend to forget the people closest to you. Take time out. It’s important to live life outside your startup. You might not realize it, but however little your friends/family might know about your startup, most often, they will still be the ones who will give you the best advice. They will still be the ones picking you up when you fall.
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