In our opinion there is nothing better than the feeling of a job well done. Starting a small business provides that feeling on a daily basis and we’re even more impressed when we see budding entrepreneurs start businesses before they even graduate. Today we’re sharing some simple tips that will help make your small biz a success, keep you focused on the goals you’ve set, and help you be successful with your business before you even graduate.
Make a Business Plan
Creating a business plan is essential for success. It doesn’t matter what your plan looks like – there’s no need for a slide presentation, a bunch of fancy financials, or even a passing grade in a entrepreneur class. Putting pen to paper and outlining the specifics of your business is all that it takes to get the job done. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you write your business plan:
- your product or service
- what you need to produce or provide it
- who will want to buy it or pay for your services – the more you know about your potential client the better so write down all the details
- tools/materials you need to produce your product or provide your service and their costs
- business location
- how will you market your business and get your product/service to market
- how much money you will invest back into the business & how much you’ll pay yourself or your employees (percentages of your monthly gross is just fine)
- timeline on when you plan to open your doors for business
Starting small is just fine and planning to grow as your business expands is the best way to fund a start up venture. Even simple ideas can turn into big business so don’t discredit any of your ideas as you’re brainstorming what type of business to start.
Manage Your Time
Time management is a much needed skill these days, probably even more so if you’re juggling classes, getting your degree, and running a business. Make sure you’re realistic about how many hours you can spend on running your business. Sacrificing sleep, health, a social life, and your grades isn’t a feasible solution to growing your business, so consider bringing on a partner (this could be another college student) or employing other students to help you get the work done.
Manage Your Overhead
Overhead costs include the money you’ll need to get your business up and going as well as the money needed to keep it running. Never consider taking out additional student loans or using money from the ones you already have for funding your business. That money is for education and living expenditures while you get your education. If you need a loan, carefully review terms and know what you’re getting into – excessive debt while you’re in school is just one more stress that won’t help you meet your end goal. If the cost is too great, consider going back to your brainstorm list of business ideas – what other ideas do you have that might cost less to launch?
Manage Your Money
Starting a side hustle is a great way to help pay your way through college and keep the amount of student loans you rack up to a minimum. Managing the money you have coming in from that side hustle is vital for a healthy business. Make sure you put money back into the business every month, no matter what. Even if the amount is small, keeping your business viable and debt free is best. If you’re finding that you can’t seem to take home even a small cut each month, it might be time to see if you can cut costs or decide to close your doors at least temporarily.
Manage Your Expectations
This is true for every entrepreneur, at every age, and education level. The odds of you growing your business exponentially overnight aren’t good, especially if you’re having to divide your time and resources between school and your biz. Unruly expectations can add more stress and pressure to your already busy life. Tempering your expectations and setting goals that are both manageable and attainable is what will help you have consistent growth. Recognizing how far you’ve come and not being too hard on yourself when you don’t hit your goals is also a great way to control the stress as your business grows.
So tell us about your business ideas!
Ben Sutton is the founder of Mazuma USA, an accounting firm providing tax, bookkeeping and payroll services to small businesses. Since founding Mazuma, Ben has established himself as an expert in the small business world. He’s still driven by that same desire to provide accounting help to all small businesses – from photographers, bloggers and creatives to lawyers, doctors, and dentists, everyone needs affordable accounting help. Ben is a Certified Public Accountant, and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. But Ben considers his greatest achievement and credential to be his happy wife and four children.