How to Start Your Own Business in College

Have you ever dreamed of starting your own company? Maybe you would like to be the next Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or even Mark Zuckerberg?

How would you like to be the creator of the next Facebook, or maybe you just have an idea that you think would lead to a successful business, but you don't know how to go from an idea to a concrete business plan?

Well, I have the inside scoop for you! The University of Rochester is home to many successful start-up companies in a wide range of fields, from engineering and technology to social media and investment firms. How have they done it?

I've outlined below a simplistic approach at the basic steps you should follow in starting up a company:

  • Step 1. Brainstorm: Write down your idea in an organized paragraph and read it aloud several times to see if it would actually makes sense for another person when he/she hears it!

  • Step 2. Assemble your team: Talk to your friends, your family, your classmates, even your professors! Try to find someone who can share your ideas and who can contribute some of their own to make the original idea even better. Choose your team wisely, as this will be crucial in determining the success of your venture; team synergy is of the essence in any business.

  • Step 3. Design your business plan: At this point you should formalize your proposal by formulating a business plan; and it is the time to take advantage of the many resources available on campus for young entrepreneurs. For instance, you can sign up for ENT 225: Technical Entrepreneurship, or ENT 227: Entrepreneurship in a Not-for-Profit Environment. Both are classes that teach students how to develop a business plan and propel it forward. The Center for Entrepreneurship at Rochester is also an excellent resource, as they hold many events and programs geared toward guiding young entrepreneurs through every step of the start-up process.
  • Step 4. Get funding: Securing initial investments is the most difficult part in kickstarting your business. Business competitions are an excellent opportunity to compete for seed money, to network with investors and fellow entrepreneurs, and to really learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your business plan and your idea.

Starting up your company can be incredibly exhilarating and frustrating at the same time. It will test your perseverance, organizational skills, and your ability to communicate well with others. In the end, it is the experience which matters most. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing the products of your hard work, so take that idea you've always had in the back of your mind, and make it a reality!

About the author

Pedro Vallejo Ramirez

I'm a member of the Class of 2016 majoring in optical engineering and computer science, and I was accepted into the GEAR program. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but moved to Panama when I was three years old. I'm an undergraduate researcher in an optics laboratory, an RA, and a Student Alumni Ambassador, president for the Optical Society of America, and a brother at Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

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