The student life isn’t always an easy one. You may be part way through a course, only to discover your heart just isn’t in it anymore. It can be tough to imagine just how you can reach your dream career goal, because having a degree doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job.
Those students looking to start their own business are in an even tighter situation. Your business idea may rely on the current time (e.g. the current popularity of a product), and you might have to move fast. Waiting until your course ends isn’t a viable option, and you need those valuable business skills as soon as possible.
If you’re intending to go employed or self-employed, there are ways to supplement your learning with business skills. They’re invaluable to learn at a young age, to ensure your start-up will be off to the best possible start.
Seek a part-time job with a local business, and start from the bottom
Good business is all about understanding people. How they work, how they think and how they act. You can’t expect to just skyrocket to the same level as Alan Sugar overnight. Starting from the bottom is key, and your college days are the perfect opportunity.
Starting small as an employee on a shop floor is a great world-building experience. You’ll meet all kinds of people, and learn to appreciate the value of the consumer. You’ll pick up basic customer service skills, and generally get a view of how a small business operates.
Here, you won’t be witnessing the birth of a conglomerate. You’ll simply be observing those basic business management tasks that owners of every level need to know.
Most part-time jobs don’t pay well, but they offer valuable experience. However, because you’re a student, this small financial gain will be of little impact to you. It’s likely your accommodation and bills will be covered by student loans anyway.
Training and online courses
The reality of the student situation is that you may not have all the experience you need. This can cover subject related experience, financial experience and even general life experience. You’ll need all the help you can get during these years, and fortunately there are plenty of resources available for you.
See if your college collaborates with local businesses to run apprenticeships/workshops, and consider applying. Another option is ISO training, which can quickly give you skills in many business management areas. These range from information security to health and safety, and are key to the success of any budding entrepreneur.
Also, there are many free online training courses which provide quick info tidbits that are easy to soak up. The best thing about being at that college age is the wealth of options you have. You can afford to take risks and switch up career plans quickly. Use this flexibility wisely to get ahead of the game.
Start your own small, street-level business operation
Back in my younger school days, many of my friends would take in cans of coke and lemonade to school, selling them on at a profit. They’d been to the discount store the night before and bought some cheap stock, flogging it at a premium to my classmates the next day.
While this practice was frowned upon, I admired it. Because this drink wasn’t available through the school, pupils were forced to buy it from these sources. My classmates were drawing in customers out of necessity, and it was a great tactic.
You too should be looking to build a small operation. You can’t run before you can walk, so start walking. If you truly want to pursue business later on in life, you should be doing it every day. Around lectures, students get a lot of free time that they should be putting to good use. Look to use this time effectively and you’ll pick up some basic, but precious, experience.
Bolstering your business acumen is simpler than you may think. There are plenty of ways to do so, even if you’re a full-time college student. Consider your options, and your future, carefully, before making a decision.