College is an amazing time to actually start up your own venture – but it also has its pit falls. It requires a delicate balancing act to actually manage to manoeuvre through the grading system and also ensure your start up survives and in turn thrives.
Many a well intentioned youngsters have started up in college and have failed – either at their studies or at their start up ventures. These have been basically attributed to the inability to handle time, risk, deadlines, quality etc.
The reasons to fail have been many fold – but I would like to focus on the reasons which have lead some college grown start ups to success.
The top 6 things which affect success of a venture starting up in college:
- Managing TIME or killing it?:
You need to actually sit down and write a detailed routine of all your college deadlines – and ensure they do NOT clash with your start up deliverable. This needs to be done to the micro precision level – which is normally done in the Army tactical plans and attacks on the enemy.
Remember in this case time – shall be your enemy. And to defeat your enemy you have to use both long term strategies and short term tactics
Citing the example of your grades in a test vs a deadline with the client. Assuming they clash. Find out how important these grades are in your overall tally – then prepare for the test/exam accordingly.
The customer deadlines should always be set in a manner of pre-actual-time setting. You should set your deadline of delivery 15 days before the actual timeline. This shall give you the window to squeeze in any last minute changes and the clashing college tests/exams.
- Knowing which battles to fight and which to leave:
You should develop the knack to identify which battles are worth fighting and which battles can be let go – the only focus is to win the war. Do NOT go for each and every client you find – and book each order you have the potential of bagging. Plan your client bagging and schedules around your exams and grades etc.
Manage your time according to the detailed “routine” which you have made out above.
- Finding the right Co-founder – someone who can take the baton and run when your energy is low or there is a coinciding of deliverables of college and the start up.
It can be an asset to your venture if you and your Co-founder do NOT have the same courses. Firstly – this shall give you a larger pool of skill and knowledge. Secondly, this shall also ensure that your exams do not clash and neither do your project submissions clash – thus allowing you a larger frame to handle the deliveries to a client.
- Get your favourite and/or most knowledgeable Professors on board– you shall have instant access to mentors. Mentors who can guide you and your venture in their fields of expertise.
Professors also shall be able to give you access to very large and diversified networks.
They also provide a generic sounding board – for all your doubts and moments of fear. They can actually advice you based on their number of years of experience.
- Find a potential test market in college itself– unless your product or service is not for college students.
Your college has hundreds of young people studying and can be a quick sales survey market – where you can get data and make the necessary tweaks to either your marketing strategy or to even your actual product/service.
(the downside here is – many a times college students do not take the product/service of their fellow students seriously)
- Find volunteers or even sweat equity takers – who can contribute to the start-up from your college –your college can be your first recruitment pool of like-minded or right-skilled people.
This kind of ‘hiring’ is ideal for both for profit and not for profit models. It ensures that your actual hiring costs are down.
At the start up level hiring and managing employee aspirations is tough. If however you can offer sweat equity – the sense of ownership is high and they shall take more interest in the workings of the company/venture, as its in their self interest for the venture to succeed.
No one but you can decide when to actually start up! But you can use these pointers as a guideline to ensure that your college start up succeeds.