Running a startup when in college
We have heard that a good number of successful startups like Dell, Facebook were started while the Founders were in their colleges. The thought of starting up a venture on our own would have come through every ones mind at some point in time. We would have got excited. However, the majority of us would have put a stop to that thought because of multiple reasons. We would have then continued in our job. Here are a few thoughts on how to begin a venture when you are in college and most importantly, hoe wo execute the idea.
Ideate and come up with a great concept
As an entrepreneur, you will have to keep looking out for new pain points that the market faces. The current market can be your immediate family, school/college, friends. You can come up a list of ideas of the problems they face. Figure out if this is a scalable market. Ideate with your friends and families and determine your capability to execute.
Test it while in college with sample customers
Once you have developed your beta version, you can test the product viability with your sample customers. These are your classmates who you can ask to test. The beta users can use the product and can give you the feedback on what they think. This feedback will help you in making the product for a bigger and a scalable market.
Take feedback and analyse the market
The initial feedback from your sample customers and the initial product developments will help you in taking the initial steps in building a good MVP. Now, you can look at the competitors and their customers. You can analyse the features of the competitors and do a GAP analysis. You can then come up with a product roadmap on developing those important features of your competitors’ products.
Dedicate time for your startup
You obviously will be pulled in multiple directions when you are in college. You will struggle in finding time to dedicate time. However, nothing will work for you when you do it once in a while. It is ok if it is part time to begin with. However, you would need to put in a consistent amount of effort into each activity of your startup on a daily or on a weekly basis. That is when you will be able to see some good progress happening. You can, as a worst-case situation, even be able to pull the plug if you would find it viable. You can fail fast and can move on to the next idea.
Hire good people
You will have plenty of your college friends who will be willing to intern. There will be many of them who will want to start something but will not have the energy and vision that you will have. They will be happy to chip into help you scale to a certain level. Leverage their knowledge and skills to come up with good sets of initial hires.
Make a business plan
Nothing works without a plan. It is ok if you do not even reach a fraction of the plan but it is important to have a plan. You can always modify the plan based on the learnings you have had over the time.
After all the ideating and planning it is time to execute. You can begin taking it serious once you see the initial traction. You can begin acting on the business plan at this stage. You can hire more people, put more resources into the solution and begin approaching a wider market.
To conclude, college is a great place to test and see if your idea has legs. You will have considerable amount of free time to explore and live your dreams. You can see scientifically if your idea will have some market. If yes, you can proceed with your dream or you can be happy that you actually tried and you can go to a job. There is always another opportunity down the line for you to try out entrepreneurship a few years down the line.