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I really want to start my own business - but I'm not sure whether to wait until I finish university or to just go for it while I'm there. Thoughts?

I'm studying two degrees - advanced commerce and law - however I feel that I'm wasting time solely focusing on them because I plan on starting my own business when I finish university anyways.

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9

I would advice to start now, however, how you start depends on the type of business you would like to start. While you are going to college, you have the ability to test the market of any business you want to start, therefore now is your chance.

The steps to follow:

1. Start a business based on your talents and strengths
2.. Idea validation - what is your business going to be about? Do research to see if you have a great business concept on your hands.
2. Business plan - once you are sure on which business to start, write a thorough business plan, which is going to help you do more research and plan out revenue streams, business model etc.
3. Network, network, network - this is the foundation of your marketing
4. And keep researching and testing your concept - trial and error are the best business partners

Feel free to contact me directly for any other advice.

Best wishes!

8

Oh, I so get your question.... and typically I would say go for all of it. But life has taught me a great deal - and as Gerald noted below.... you can do multiple things and never get either done (successfully at least).

Though you could...as I am - consulting with clients, writing a screenplay and building a brand... the thought of doing any of those and study at the same time - that would cause something to suffer seriously.

If you were to do anything - start reading, training and studying about starting and managing a business. Start collaborating with other business owners and finding out what they have learned. Work on your business plan, budget, etc.. So by the time your studies are finished, you have a good idea of what needs to be done next.

It is HARD to run a business...and it takes all of your focus, regardless of how focused, prioritized and determined you are.

You are not wasting time getting an education, because you will be training and learning for the rest of your life. Take the time now to apply learning to the tasks of starting a business.... you will be glad (and profitable) that you did.

Great advice Bernadette - hope everything is going well with you and your endeavours!

8

I don't know if any one else did this before responding but I went an looked at your profile. You are going to a university with a double major. You also seem to be drawn to be an entrepreneur. This is a heavy load.

So you know, I am very pro education even if a degree is not involved. The degree opens doors... the eduction allows you to stay.

The real answer is... it depends. - mostly on good planning and your tolerance for risk.

Stating a business will take more time than you can imagine. You need to be able to start a business that you can scale easily.

If you want to do both, the questions I would ask you if you were my coaching client:
1) Are you willing to risk getting lower marks in your classes?
2) Are you OK with disappointing clients in your business by not being able to respond reasonably because it is finals, or you have a project due, or some other school item that take all of your attention?

If you say no to these questions then you need to pick one or the other.

If you say yes you can tolerate both of them, then:
1) What will you do about school if your business takes off so much so that it is consuming your life? Will you quit school? Will you quit the business?
2) What do you fear the most about this situation?

It it ends up to be too much for both then I suggest you create the beginning of a business and launch it on graduation day. Build every foundational piece in advance and if scalable take on some clients or sell some product but keep it controlled.

It does work with discipline. I have done this before by holding on to my corporate position while building my leadership coaching business.

Hope this helps,

Don't be afraid to reach out for more help,

Scott

8

Its an old adage but a true one. There is no time like the present. The average business takes two years to get off the ground. The longer you wait the longer it is going to take to get off the ground.

Start now. The best way to learn is in the real world, not in a class room. Most of the successful business owners were drop outs or never finished Uni (Not saying you should not finish Uni - just making a point)

1. Set your goals and purposes
2. Write up a business plan including the strategy, direction you are going to take.
3. Start small if money is an issue.
4. If you can finish your degrees. Law and commerce will stand you in good stead., But do not let it be a stop on building a thriving business.
5. Being in the University you have a ready made prospects (provided others can be your clients/customer). Let people know. Met any negativity with instand positiveness and keep your eyes focused on the goal.
Keep us informed of your progress.

8

It depends on the business, and how your focus works and your personality. Ask your self a couple questions about how you operate.

1. Can you focus on multiple tasks or when working on a task you get so focused on that one task, that the other tasks do not get the attention needed.

2. When you handle multiple task's or timeline restriction do you get frustrated and get short with other individuals or do you handled them with calm and clarity able to prioritize properly

Developing any business takes and expedient thoughtful approach to make your business successful. It boils down to the effort that is needed to properly launch your particular product or service, does it require product development, content or site development, are you creating a site from the ground up or built off of a platform so on and so forth.

You could add more questions but you get the idea. As long as you can handle all that your current situation requirements demand then school is a great place to plan out your business, maybe get an internship with a related field to get real world applications while building your plan to go to market.

One approach is to work through the process of developing your mission for the business and your vision of where you want your business to go and how implementation would be handled, people involved, marketing brand etc.

Whatever you decide complete your schooling, have fun and do those things that make your life better.

8

Hi Michael,
From your bio I see you are interested in being an entrepreneur in the financial industry. From a consumer's point of view, I would want to hire a person to manage my portfolio who I trust and who is experienced. So here are some suggestions for you if this is your passion.

1) Drop the law degree
2) Add as many financial courses as you can in your commerce degree
3) While at school write your exams for your securities licence
4) Get a part time job (summer) with a bank or a brokerage company.
5) Network with other students in the Commerce program and develop sales skills during your summer jobs.
6) Make sure you have good customer service skills.

This way you will get some experience and it will help validate your passion.
When you graduate I would work for a brokerage company for a couple of years while doing a business plan for venturing out on your own while at the same time getting the advanced certifications for becoming an independent financial advisor.

With this accomplished you will have
a) A degree
b) Work Experience
c) Credibility as a Financial professional
d) People skills

If you change your mind about being an entrepreneur you will have valuable skills that will enable you to have a successful business career.

Hi Elaine,
Thanks for such an in-depth response, some great advice in there! I've already got 2 years worth of financial services experience, however more couldn't hurt. You've hit the issue right on the head - do I defer a few courses to get experience, or give it my all and start with a small consumer base whilst studying. I guess only I can answer that haha. Great answer though!

Good luck Michael with your decision. Whatever you decide, you are in the driver's seat with a B.Comm degree, no matter what!

7

Seriously, all pomp and hype aside, it depends on the nature of the business you want to start. If it's a kind of product (like software or website), there's no reason why you can't chip away at the POC (proof of concept) while you're in school. HOWEVER if you business is primarily service-based, it'll be a lot harder to get going until a) you've graduated and b) you've got some years under your belt.

Seriously - it all depends on what your business is. Feel free to contact me directly if you are serious about getting tailor-fitted advice.

So true - thanks for the advice Patrick. Might even contact you for some trailer advice in future. Thanks!

7

I haven't read all of these answers, but start now! Treat it like another course. Trust me. Forget any nay-sayers that say "wait until... blah blah blah." You can wait forever. Starting a business takes a lot. You don't have to launch now, but NOW:
1. Develop the plan - model, client/customer profile, demand, etc.
2. Develop the network - "advocates/word-of-mouth" team, people who are in it (but not competing), people you think are your client profile - you might find testing them this way shows that you may want to alter that profile.
3. Develop project/service/product models. At school you can try things (without needing to be paid to eat). Great time to test.
It is your decision in the end. That's, however, what I recommend.
Have fun and good luck! Stay in touch and tell me how it goes! :D

Excellent answer. I especially like point #2. You will never get better advertising than word-of-mouth.

Thanks, Steve! So true - especially word-of-mouth from people who've seen you work. Happy Sunday!

Thanks for the UpVotes! Buy really hope my advice helps you, Michael.

Hi Crystal-Marie, that's great advice - thank you! I'll definitely take it on board and let you know how everything goes. All the best.

7

If you have an idea you believe is valuable, spend your time evaluating the first 10 customers for your product or service. If you find 10 organizations willing to pay you for the implemented product/service and you believe you can make money from those 10 clients, stop going to school and work on your business.

What often happens in these cases, is the idea is either refined (and the economics change either favorably or unfavorably) or the idea is invalidated.

The goal of a business is to make money. The economic landscape is littered with good business ideas that were either unprofitable or not desired by clients. Spend the time up front to sell your idea and you'll know based off of your efforts, whether the business is worth your time.

6

It all depends on what type of business you want to start and if you are going to school full time or not. Also, you should think about how much longer you have in school, what is your investment into this business etc and weigh your options. My advice would be to take the time to write a business plan. Know where you want to go with the business, understand what time commitments the business takes and then reevaluate your situation.
A business plan is vital to getting you started anyway and understanding demographics, location, financing etc will also be vital. Getting all of that out of the way first will give you time to continue to also focus on school, not feel like you are wasting time and get you ready to start your business. After all of that, if you are still in school and feel like you can do both efficiently, then there is no reason to believe you can't. Businesses are time consuming and very stressful at times. My suggestion would be to prepare yourself to start the business as I said with all th necessary things you will need anyway and make a decision after that before actually pulling the trigger. During this process, I guarantee you will find something within you research and planning that you might have missed without it and it will be crucial to your success.

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