By Maggie Smith - Fall Mountain Regional High School
You have the entrepreneurial itch and don’t want to wait to start your company until graduation. Where do you even begin?
Step 1: Create Something People Want
To start a business, you must have a good idea of what you want to sell, whether it be a product or service. Here are some questions to ask yourself to begin the process:
Who? Who can use your product or service?
What? What is your product’s use, what can it help change?
Why? Why will people use it, why will it sell?
When? When will it be used? Is it a seasonal product or service?
Where? Where will it be used? (At home, school, work, playground, etc.)
Step 2: Take Advantage of these Resources Around You
You’re in school, you have multiple resources others don’t have access too. Even better, all of these things are likely free to you, whereas most entrepreneurs incur higher costs.
Time. You have lots of homework, yes, but you also don’t have the stress of a real job or the need to find an internship in college. You have more time than you think.
Your teachers. They are a great sources of information, whether it be your computer science teacher to help with a website or your economics teacher to help with a business plan.
Computer labs. Your product or service will likely need a website. If you can’t afford your own laptop, you can use your school computer labs for free.
Step 3: Set Up a Workstation
Chances are you likely won’t have the ability to afford your own office and will probably be working out of your own home or garage. Even though you might not have a professional office, it’s important that you get separation from your normal homework routine. Set up a workstation in a different part of your house than where you do your classwork.
Step 4: Be Okay with Trial and Error
I recently had the chance to talk to a friend of mine in high school about the process of starting his own business. He said the hardest part of being a student entrepreneur is “being able to get everything done, still go to school, keeping customers, teachers, and parents happy, and having a social life.” He admitted that he had a tough time balancing everything, but upon pressing further he concluded: “I don’t think I would do anything different, things kind of fell into place after trial and error.”
Step 5: Figure Out Your Advertising Plan
This is essentially how people find out about your product or service. Try things like flyering, setting up a Kickstarter, setting up targeted Facebook ads to your website, or implementing a referral program.
Starting a business is a rough road as it is, and starting one in school, is challenging as well, but it has its benefits. You may or may not succeed, but until you try, you will never know.