Advantages of Student Business Ownership

Posted on November 19, 2019
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Advantages of Student Business Ownership

By April Hearne

Chair, Department of Business and Information Technology 
Instructor of Entrepreneurship and Business
University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College

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For some people, becoming a business owner can be a daunting task.  We’ve got this great business idea in our minds and yet all we can think about is the time and money it would take to get it off the ground.  By the end of the day we’ve talked ourselves out of it completely.  As a college entrepreneurship instructor, one of the most common comments I get from my older students is “I wish I would have started this when I was younger.”   

Students want to start businesses but most don’t know where to start.  Earning a degree to work in corporate America is still the default plan in life.  Instead, it should be the time that you are learning by doing while still in college.  But, in a study published by Millennial Branding[1], “72% of high school students and 64% of college students want to start a business someday.” 

There are many advantages to starting a business while still in college.  

1.     School/Work/Life Balance.  One of the keys to success in college is time management.  Students are already organizing when to work, sleep, eat, study, and socialize.  Adding a new business venture to the mix would be completely natural.  As a student, YOU can choose when to work your new business and when to sleep.  

2.     Challenge Yourself/Learn Something New.  I would tell any budding business owner searching for their next business idea to look at the things around you.  What do your classmates NEED or WANT? What could you develop to make their college life easier or better? Study the people around you and focus on what would make their lives easier, even if that means stepping out of your own comfort zone.  Challenge yourself to learn something new about a product idea for a specific target market.  Then use them as test subjects along the way.  The college setting is a fish bowl of opportunities.  Let them be your target, testers, and eventually your customers. 

3.     Become independent! College is both hard and expensive.  Starting your own entrepreneurial venture while still in school can help bring money in that could go above and beyond the part-time job on campus that you just applied for.  

4.     Real Time Feedback! What better time to start a business than when in college?  Students can get real time feedback from instructors and classmates.  Very often in my classes we take a minute to discuss where we are in real life with our new companies.  We share successes and challenges together and brainstorm ways to fix problems and increase profits as we move forward.  The classroom space tends to create a support system for student entrepreneurs that is truly breath taking.  

5.     Free Resources! Opening and running a business as a student is the perfect time to take advantage of the free resources offered to college students.  Many colleges and universities offer special programs specifically for student business owners.  Fortunately, UA – Pulaski Tech works with The Venture Center in Little Rock to provide much needed additional support through the SEEC program. 

 Student business ownership could be the path to financial freedom that any student needs.  Let corporate America be the back-up plan, not the only option.