From student to entrepreneur: How to launch a business straight out of uni
Coming to the end of your student years, but don’t fancy entering the world of employment? Here’s how to launch your first business straight out of university.
For some students, the concept of getting a job working for someone else doesn’t appeal. You may have a clear idea of the type of business you want to launch, or you’re simply drawn to entrepreneurship, but whatever your circumstances may be, launching a business after you graduate can be an incredibly rewarding experience and a great start to your career.
Here are some top tips for launching a business straight out of university and things to consider before you get started.
Draw up a business plan
Before you send your business out into the world, you need to be sure it will be well received. It’s vital that you do your research before investing time and money into a business idea, so check demand, current trends and bounce your ideas off people you trust to get a feel for whether the concept is viable. 42% of start-ups fail because there’s no market demand for the product, so this step is essential.
You’ve decided on an idea and are ready to move forward – the next step is writing a business plan. A strong business plan should include:
- A summary of your business
- Core objectives you hope to achieve
- The market and competitors
- How you plan to bring in revenue
But it can also be beneficial to consider other aspects such as marketing plans or scaling the business. How do you plan to deliver great customer service to your clients? Will you be working alone or hiring a team? Where do you plan to work from – will you require commercial premises? Or, can you work from home?
Figure out the financials
Making a profit is one of the primary goals of launching a business, so figuring out the financial aspects of your company should be a priority. Will you be funding the business yourself or will you require funding from external sources, such as your university?
You will need to set up a separate business bank account so you can send, receive and securely hold any money associated with your business. You will also need to think about how you’ll accept payments from your customers. Small business card payments are essential in today’s increasingly contact-free world, so you should have the infrastructure in place to accept this type of payment method and have it linked to your business accounts for easy tracking and bookkeeping.
Develop your identity
Your brand identity is how you’ll be presenting your business to the world, so it requires careful consideration. In addition to the name of your business, email addresses and domain names, you also need to think about logos, typography and the colour scheme your business will use. Having a consistent brand identity will help your customers spot your business and also ensures your business looks professional at all times. As a start-up, this is critical, so spending time on your branding, even if you keep it simple, is time well spent.
Think of your business as a character or a person – what type of personality would it have? Is it fun and vibrant, targeting a younger crowd? Or maybe your business is more formal and professional, in which case your branding should tie in with this with sophisticated branding that exudes expertise. A consistent tone of voice in messaging can help reinforce this personality.
Develop a marketing strategy
Promoting your business early on and being consistent will help you grow and bring in revenue, so it is worthwhile to consider the channels you’ll be using and how you intend to market your business to your target audience. Before you can develop your marketing strategy, you should identify your USP or Unique Selling Point, which will help you position your product or service to your audience.
There are several channels to consider within a profitable marketing plan, from email marketing and content marketing to PPC advertising and SEO. Think about the customers you’re trying to reach and where they are likely to be consuming content, as these should be your primary marketing channels, at least initially until you have the means to branch out.
Time to launch
You’ve established your brand, set up the financial aspects of the business and started promoting yourself – it’s time to launch. As a graduate, launching a business can feel incredibly daunting but with the foundations in place to set you up for success, you can launch with confidence.
Many of the world’s largest and most successful businesses were started by students and graduates, from Facebook and Google to Reddit, and with the right planning and a strong business concept, you can start your entrepreneurial career on the right foot.
Photo by Sincerely Media