University is the perfect time to start a business. That might sound strange to some reading this, you may be thinking “I don’t have enough time to do that, I have all this studying to do!”, and that may be the case for some. However, let’s assume we are someone who is not at university for a minute, unless you are sitting on a vast amount of savings you are willing to burn through, a lot of new businesses are going to need good time management to juggle the new business and the old income stream. University is not a full-time job, it is flexible. Work-load goes through highs and lows and for about 20 weeks a year, during holidays, it can be zero. Comparing a student to someone who has a full-time job, you may have a lot more time than you think.
University is the perfect time to start a business because of the very nature of universities being a giant network of intelligent and diverse minds. If you are a programmer looking to develop an app which involves translation, there are hundreds of language students and tens of academics who are experts in their field. This kind of network is very difficult to create once leaving university, short of posting online and hiring someone. The chances are that if you have already gone into a career, you will be surrounded by somewhat similar individuals. An engineer at an engineering company is not likely to find a biomedical researcher who they can sit down with and speak to the very same day. Having a vast network can enable your idea to become reality a lot quicker, saving you time.
Enterprise schemes and societies are popular which many young people hoping to emulate the successes of the likes of Mark Zuckerberg
. As such, if you do some digging on your university website, you will probably find a whole load of resources dedicated to students (and staff) who want to create their own innovative business. These can help you to advertise your business, locate funding and grow your professional
network beyond the university. Joining an enterprise society can enable you to find people willing to join your new venture, or inspire you to join a startup created by someone else. Getting involved is the best place to start, even if you don’t have the next big idea, it is great to learn about the process of setting up your own business.
You (should) be learning things every day as a student. This daily learning can foster inspiration. Next time you are in a lecture and you learn about something, take a moment to discuss with someone how that could be used in a novel way. University also gives you the physical resources to go and create your idea. If you need a workshop, a computer lab or materials, you can access all of that for zero, or very little, cost. Outside of university, these resources are expensive and that can be off-putting if you just want to prototype a small idea you have had.
I’m not claiming to be a business guru, I’ve spent some time around the enterprise crowd and the key advice I picked up was to just do it. Try it, what have you got to lose? Your idea might crash and fail because there was never a market for it, but looking back you will have learnt so much. Learning about the process of starting a business so that when a brilliant idea does come to you, you’ll know exactly what to do to make it a success. It’s important that you pursue things you are passionate about. Enterprise schemes aren’t going to be interested if you have a Dropshipping
business, because it’s not innovative. It’s true, you may be able to make more money by following a well-known business model, however, if you are passionate about something then it will encourage you to succeed.
Did you start a business whilst at university, how did it go and do you agree that university is the perfect time to start a business?