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Sep 03 2017
by Samay Bansal

5 Tips for College Entrepreneurs

By Samay Bansal - Sep 03 2017
Whether you’re a college entrepreneur or a "want-repreneur" (a term made famous by VC Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank), you should be proud of your proactivity and desire to start a business. Large businesses like Google, Amazon and PayPal are making some of the older challenges of entrepreneurship; outreach, logistics and payment processing respectively, much simpler. This allows a new generation of entrepreneurs to focus on building their brand and ensuring that the good or service they provide is something that people want to spend money on/for. These suggestions are a compilation of everything that I have read and heard about the challenges entrepreneurs experience whilst establishing their business.

1. Identify the gaps in the market.

Before launching into your idea, it is worth considering: "Does my idea/product/service already exist?" If the answer to that question is yes, it doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't do the business, it just means that you should do some research about the competitors, identify their successes and failures and see how your skillset allows you to overcome the issues others have faced. It is important to remember that a gap in the market doesn't need to be a shortage of a good/service. AirBnB, for example, was able to create its success by connecting travellers with the surplus of unused accommodations in cities around the world.


2. Believe in yourself.

Despite the growing number of tools available to entrepreneurs, starting a business is easier said than done. If you have created a product/service that you believe the market could benefit from, you should stand by your product and have faith in yourself. There will be roadblocks in the form of challenges and nay-sayers along the way, however, every time you are able to overcome either of the latter, you strengthen your idea. If you begin to have doubts in yourself, try and re-visit the reason you started the process altogether. Use your motivating reason – fame, financial success or even changing the world – and channel your energy into it once again, reaching for that.


3. Be humble.

I would argue that no business is guaranteed to be successful on the day of its launch, despite its backers, its ability to disrupt the market or its innovation. It is crucial to find a balance between being confident and being arrogant. You might have created a successful product/service, but there is always room to grow and learn. If an individual shares an opinion about your business with you, it is your responsibility to at least appreciate that they have been willing to share their thoughts with you, regardless of if you agree or act on them at all.


4. Balance ambition and greed.

If your enterprise is extremely successful, it might be tempting to give yourself a large payout in the beginning, but I would warn against this early on. This money can be re-invested into growing your business further and taking advantage of the success you have. For the first few months/years, you might only be "ramen-profitable" (making just enough money to pay for the ramen that you need to keep going) because all of the money is being pumped back into the business. However, if you continue working hard, that sacrifice should pay off!


5. Network

With the rise of LinkedIn and networking events, the process has become much easier! By speaking about your enterprise with as many people as possible, you identify players in the market that might be of some benefit to your company and you build brand awareness. Global networking organizations like BNI also refer businesses that may synergize by working together with one another in attempt to make both businesses benefit. A final advantage of networking is that it builds your credibility within the industry, which could be beneficial for your business in the future.


A successful business is the sum of many moving parts (even when you are the only person in the company) and therefore there are no guidelines that will guarantee success. These tips should hopefully introduce you to ideas to think about and consider while you are in the process of growing your business. 

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Samay Bansal - Tufts University

Samay is an international student pursuing an economics degree at Tufts University, MA. Samay loves travel, food, photography, and adventures. Follow him on Instagram @samaybansal and @bansalbound for his travel photographs.

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