Perhaps you’ve gone to university to be better prepared for launching your own business one day? Or maybe you started studying and decided to become an entrepreneur during your course? However it has come about, building your own business is an exciting adventure to embark upon.
You might decide not to start anything until you graduate and you might not even know exactly what kind of business you want to run. Fortunately, you don’t have to put your dreams on hold while you study. There is plenty you can do to prepare for the moment when you are ready to set up your own business.
Start brainstorming business ideas
You might have an idea which you’ve been toying with for a while or you might not have a clue as to what you eventually want to do, you just know you want to be your own boss. Either way, a bit of brainstorming is a great way to come up with possibilities and nailing down the ones that will succeed.
Business ideas come from all over the place – you may be good at something such as writing or web design which lends itself to a business or you may solve something which is an every-day frustration for many and think “I can do it better”. Richard Branson started Virgin Trains for that reason. There could be something already out there but it’s unavailable in your area or you may have strong beliefs and want to set up a social or environmental enterprise.
You might come up with something that no one has ever done before like Innocent. More often than not, the idea you think of will have already been picked up by someone else who’s already running a business. That can feel pretty frustrating, but don’t get disheartened. Lots of entrepreneurs enter the market with an idea someone else is already selling and then do it better – think of the number of different coffee shop chains out there, for example!
When you’re looking at what might be a good venture it helps to play to your strengths. What are your interests? What qualifications are you studying for? At GSM London there are a number of different degree courses that can equip you with the skills needed to get you off to a flying start; such as the Enterprise and Small Business Development Degree.
Making a business plan
Once you’ve got a firm idea of what you want to do, the next stage is to draw up a business plan. Many entrepreneurs swears by a good business plan and if you’ve done enough brainstorming you’ll already have laid the groundwork.
A business plan is a written document explaining what your business is, what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. There is no one template you need to stick to, but it is a useful document for a number of reasons. You can use it to explain your vision and projected growth if you’re looking for investors. You can also use it to measure your progress as time goes on and refer back to see if you have achieved the goals you set.
A business plan should consist of:
- An executive summary
- Business description
- Market strategies
- Competitor analysis
- Design and development
- Operations and management
- Financial section
How long your business plan is, ultimately depends on your idea – a simple concept may be expressed in a few pages or less, something complex can run to dozens of pages.
Launching your business
At some point you’ll have to make the leap from ideation to entrepreneur. Choosing the right time is a tough call. You could launch it while still studying (look at Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook), but then you’ll need to juggle it with your work. You could also wait until you graduate but norisk missing the boat if you know it’s an idea other people are also working on.
Starting your own business whilst studying can actually be a great time to do it – you’ll have fewer commitments at this stage in your life and the risk is low, you can also make use of university resources. It’s a great way of getting real-world experience because there’s only so much you can learn in the classroom and other students will provide a fertile testing ground for your service or product.
We would like to hear from you if you have any questions about our business degrees. You can call us on 020 3797 4687 or find out how to apply here.