Starting your own business as a college graduate can seem daunting, and at times, impossible. However, it has been done, with global companies like Facebook and Reddit being born as the result of college talk between friends. So, what is there to consider before you embark on setting up your company? Here are some tips for starting up your own business:
Offline or Online?
The first factor to consider is whether your business is sustainable completely online, or whether you need to acquire physical premises. This can entirely depend on the nature of your business or the industry. For a retail business, there are pros and cons to having a physical store, and recently more and more clothing companies have been establishing themselves online. In a way, it can ensure the best customer experience as you are able to play a part in “fast fashion”, with clothing being designed, manufactured and sold to the consumer quicker than ever before. However, you are limiting any potential footfall to your business, diminishing the chance of prospecting customers stumbling across your business rather than needing to actively search it, in this sense you need to rely on strong branding.
Once you’ve established the base from which you will be operating your business, you can then weigh up how much funding you will need to get it off the ground. You can fund your business through various methods. The ideal method would be through personal funds or a loan from a family member, this leaves you less likely to accrue any debt and means you are only liable to yourself or family member. The most common way of raising funds when personal methods are inconceivable, is through a bank loan. You will need to prepare a solid business plan including calculations you have made for the projection of your business, and where you forecast it to be headed. It’s also worth considering investors and business angels as a source of funding, especially if you’ll be operating a niche or disruptive business.
Conducting research into your potential competitors is key for starting up your own business. You’ll need to analyse aspects such as who they are and their behaviour. Understanding your competitor’s behaviour should help you create a better picture for how you will conduct your own business. You can learn a great deal in terms of how you can emulate their successes and avoid the mistakes they have made.
If you do decide that having offline premises is crucial for your business, then you’ll need to consider the best location. Look into where your competitors are, and how this has benefitted them. A lot of offices, fashion, and retail companies prefer to be located in a city centre. Although being in a city centre can have its positives, for example a concentrated number of consumers, it can also have some drawbacks. You’ll need to invest more in the actual building, for example overheads, desks, appliances, acoustic attenuator if you’re a larger scale business, and technical equipment such as computers and machinery.
Not only is it important to research your competitors, but you also need to engage in researching your chosen field. Starting up your own business is challenging enough without gaining a solid understanding of the industry you will be entering, even if you are familiar with it. You’ll also need to conduct research into your target market; who will you be selling to? What’s the demographic? Where are they located? Giving your business the best possible chance of success correlates to the amount of effort you put into the initial research stages.