Having started Student Pocket Guide at 22 years of age, I know about many challenges and hurdles any new business owner faces. I know how scary and lonely it can be to start a business. Equally, I have experienced the highs of starting and running a successful business from winning £50k, securing investment, opening an office, recruiting a team, creating a national brand, meeting high profile people and just having that feeling of personal success. But the highs don’t come easily and I have had to earn my stripes. I’ve also grafted consistently, remained positive, and most importantly had self-belief. This leads nicely onto my very first tip:
You’ll be surprised just how important this is. When I started the Student Pocket Guide, my confidence was low (I had previously tried to find work but kept getting rejected). At the time, I was designing the magazine, selling adverts, distributing, managing the finances – the list was endless. But early on into running a business, you do, in my opinion have to be the jack of all trades because you will be leaning in every direction of the company and managing every aspect of your business. It’s not easy to start a business, but it’s an exciting and fast-learning process – another huge perk because you will learn faster than you think.
It might sound obvious, but so many ideas are not unique or do not offer value. If you do not offer value, your business idea is flawed. So, think about your business. What is your USP (unique selling point)? Why should people buy from you? What will they get and how will you deliver the service?
This has gotten me a long way in business! Just imagine that you have received a cold-call to upgrade your mobile contract. Or, you are in a shop speaking to someone about splashing out and buying a brand new… anything… If you like the person, you are more likely to buy that item from them. Unsurprisingly, the likeable sales person always wins! But don’t cross the line. And, it’s not even about that. Just being nice, is nice! I’ve come across all sorts of people in business and many might disagree with this point, but my opinion is that by being nice in all aspects of running your business will in-still a solid reputation. And before you know it, you are creating your very own brand!
Research, research, research.
Understanding you’re your product inside out, is NOT enough. Understand your market. Understand your competitors. Understand your USP. Understand your passion. When asked questions about your business you need to be ready to answer every question and turn a potential negative into a positive. Back to sales – it’s a major part of any business!
NEVER. GIVE. UP.
If you are a student you will be juggling studies and no doubt enjoying uni life with your friends, and that’s very important! During university days, your list of responsibilities will be a shorter list than say in 5 years-time. That’s why it’s a perfect time for travelling after you graduate. But if like me, you are addicted to business, then balance your life well. Make sure your university experience is not compromised, but also use the time you have at this stage in your life to start a business – it might be the best decision you have ever made! Good luck.
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