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Whether you’re about to graduate high school or college, you understand the stress of school. You feel overloaded with homework, exams and lack of funds, so why would you want to start a business? It might seem crazy, but now is probably the best time to start a small business. Here are five reasons why it’s a great idea to start a small business while still in school:
1. You have access to free resources.
As a student, you have access to various types of educational resources that can help you start and run your business. While these resources aren’t technically free since you pay for them either through your tuition or taxes, you have unlimited access to them until you graduate. These resources can help you look at marketing and industry trends, research studies and reports and can even help with your production costs (through printing and student discounts at supply stores). Some resources you may have access to are Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, online libraries, computer labs and copy machines.
2. You’re more likely to get a mentor.
You also have professors as a good resource on high school and college campuses. Most professors have experience in the industry and can give you tips on how to start and continue your business. Some high schools and universities also have mentoring programs in which you can work alongside notable alumni in the industry you’re pursuing.
As a student, you’re also more likely to hear a response from the CEOs of companies. By introducing yourself as a student, letting them know you’re starting a company and asking them for advice, successful entrepreneurs can see just how dedicated you are. They like seeing your passion and drive, and because you’re a student, they won’t feel threatened and not speak with you.
3. Other students are great for beta testing.
Your fellow peers are actually valuable resources for your business, especially in testing your ideas. Students are cheap and blunt. If they don’t like something about your product, they’ll tell you. If they like it so much they’re willing to pay for it, it’s a good sign that your business will succeed.
Students are also great for cheaper focus groups. While you could use your friends for free, it’s better to gather a group of unique consumers to see what works and what doesn’t. Of course, it could be difficult to ask students for time out of their day for free, so offering free food is a good way to go. Students love free food.
4. You have more time now.
With all of the exams, homework, essays and extracurricular activities you’re involved in, it can seem like you don’t have time for anything else, let alone starting and running a business. However, for university students, college is the prime time to start your business. You have some independence, and you’re not busy with a full-time job or possible a family. Your schedule is at its peak flexibility in college since you’re not in class for nine hours every day, so take advantage while you can.
High school students have a little less flexibility, as they adhere to a nine-hour school day and parental curfews. However, they don’t have the stress of bills or loans, so they can use their free time to focus on getting a jumpstart on their business ideas.
5. Real-world experience can help your education.
A lot of times students find themselves wondering if and when they’ll ever use the material they learn in class. Or they might have trouble understanding how something works because they haven’t experienced it. By starting your business, you can get that experience and hands-on knowledge of the industry you want to work in. Let’s say you want to start a baking company but don’t quite understand how cash flow works. By starting a small business, you’ll see exactly how to manage your monthly expenses (i.e. the cost of flour, sugar, etc.) and monthly sales to maximize your profits.
6. It’ll help you with your career.
Let’s say you start a business before you graduate high school or college, but it doesn’t succeed. That’s still an advantage than most other graduates that you can add to your résumé. It separates you from the dozens of other college or job applicants. When colleges and companies see that you started a business, they instantly see your passion, drive, creativity and perseverance. It’s okay if your business fails – by continuing in your studies, field or industry, you prove you’re not a quitter. Startups while in school can also help you decide if you’re ready to even run a business or if you’d like to get some experience in the workforce first.
If your business succeeds, you could turn it into your full-time job once you graduate college (or high school if you don’t plan on attending college). After a year, if you’re still in business and might need a chunk of money, you’d be able to apply for a line of credit, bank loan or a small business loan. This means lenders trust in you and your business so much that they want to help you to succeed in it.
Starting a business is never easy, especially when you don’t have a lot of real-world experience and are still in school. However, staring a small business while in school has relatively lower risk, especially with the low cost of living, free resources, mentoring opportunities and flexibility in your schedule. Whether you’re about to graduate high school or college, while you’re in school might be the perfect time to start your small business.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University, where she learned how to create content that could best be organically shared. When not in the marketing world, Constantina enjoys strategy games and singing along to the Law & Order: SVU theme song.