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On teams, market fit and fundraising: Lessons from building (and shutting down) a startup in college  Technical.ly
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How To Run An Online Startup When You’re At College

If you look at the most successful modern companies, you will see that all of them were created by students. Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Snapchat, or PayPal and even Apple and Microsoft started in universities. Every tech student dreams of becoming the new Steve Jobs and conquering the world.

But that’s where several questions arise. How to go against the statistics that say that the majority of startups close after a year? What are those steps that you need to make to turn a beautiful idea into a successful business?

If you’re swamped with homework, then maybe it’s time to get help? Use the professional writing service EssayPro to get your academic assignments done. Meanwhile, you can take some time to go deeper into the process of launching your first business at college.

The 7 Step Guide To Running An Online Startup At College

1. Come Up With A Brilliant Idea

If you don’t have a startup idea yet, begin with making a list of things you do the best or activities you enjoy. Think about the knowledge and skills that you can potentially monetize. To shed some light on your future business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to change my field of activity or continue developing the business in my current area?
  • Do I have a hobby that can be turned into a way of living?
  • Do I already have enough knowledge or do I need additional training?

Note that the only way to ensure success is an idea that keeps up with the needs of your potential customers. Take your time, don’t rush it. Think, dream, and you will come up with something great.

2. Analyze The Market & Select A Niche

Before launching your online startup, make sure that you have a good understanding of the market. Explore the current trends, conditions, and the latest news. For example, Uber appeared during the economic downturn, when people needed additional income.

To explore the market, you can analyze the number of results for your keywords in Google, Yahoo, etc. Study the public opinion on social networks or forums.

Besides, you need to understand your target audience. Define what benefits you can promise, what do your customers want and what problems they are experiencing. Talk to strangers, family members, friends and find out if they would purchase your product or service.

3. Study Your Competitors

To compete in a market that is already crowded, it is important to know your product’s direct and indirect competitors. This will let you understand how to position your brand to stand out and succeed.

You can analyze your competitors by defining a list of basic criteria.

  • Who are their clients? How do they approach them?
  • What technologies and approaches do they use?
  • How much do they spend on marketing?

Note that communicating with customers is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to collect real information about competitors.

4. Create A Business Plan

A business plan is a step-by-step guide to your startup. It describes the product, unique selling proposition, competitors, goals, financial calculations, and marketing strategy.

Tip! Do not try to create an ideal business plan five years ahead. A common mistake for beginners is to get carried away with planning and never getting started. Think only about the details that you will need at the first stages: seed capital, ways of promotion, how and when you plan to make a profit.

5. Surround Yourself With Professionals

A strong team is one of the winning factors of startup success. You can’t do all the tasks on your own. For example, when launching Apple, Steve Jobs was responsible for the promotion and Steve Wozniak tackled the technical part.

Here’s a short guide to finding team members:

  • Take a closer look at your social circle: relatives and friends;
  • Ask for recommendations;
  • Publish the job offer on employment websites or special groups on social networks

6. Launch Ads & Search For Customers

How to launch a business? Talk about yourself and attract customers. Although your resources may be very limited, there are free and effective methods of advertising, for example, word of mouth. Among the other ways are:

  • Social networks;
  • A website or blog;
  • Guest articles in blogs and media;
  • Attending thematic events, meeting potential partners and clients.

7. Analyze The Results

After a while, you’ll need to revise the business plan, sum up the interim results, and define new goals.

  • Analyze the errors: Think about what you didn’t take into account in the first stages and how to fix it;
  • Mark your achievements;
  • Increase your team: Hire new employees and delegate tasks;
  • Check for changes: Ask how your competitors are doing and whether other startups have appeared in your niche.

Conclusion

We do not guarantee that this guide will fully help turn your online startup into a successful business. Yet, it will be useful to avoid some obstacles and overcome self-doubt.

Experiment, get bumps, stay true to yourself, and try to get feedback. Young startuppers are very active people, they are literally obsessed with the idea, but try to keep a cool mind and soberly assess your strength, and you will definitely reach the goal.

 

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Getting acquired while in college. Dropout?

I’ve been developing some educational software for the past year and a half, and it’s been in beta for the past 3 months, just barely cash flow positive at this time. I was planning to do a full launch this September, and realistically aimed to earn around 100k/yr at worst and 270k/yr at best off software sales, based on my university’s estimates.

Recently, one of my old bosses (runs a private school) has told me he’s interested in buying me out completely for 500k. Obviously as a college student on student loans, this is more many than I could conceive having.

With that much money, I’m seriously considering leaving school, using some of the money to build more software and try to sell it, and invest the rest. I’m currently in my second year (major in finance, minor in CS).

While I know this offer was incredibly lucky and school is a safe bet, I really think this money could be enough for me to make more meaningful products. I also don’t really enjoy university, but who does.

Thoughts?

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