There is no better time to be a student than now. Aside from attending lectures and studying, you have enough time to try something else. So, if you are a student, you should rejoice and make the best of the opportunity that is presented to you while in school. With the economic downturn and new set of graduates being released every year, it is becoming tougher to secure a job. In the past, all you need is to finish with a strong 2:1 from any university and you will be guaranteed at least an interview slot. Things have changed in recent years and the violent takes it by force.
I started my first business with a friend when I was in year 2 at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and moved on to start 2 other businesses before I graduated from the university. I can say that I stumbled into business. And most people start this way. I finished my Computer Programming assignment in record time but still had the urge to play around with the Fortran Programming language I had learnt few weeks earlier. I am sure many people might not remember what Fortran language is.
Within few hours, I came up with different other versions of the code that could achieve the same result as required in the assignment. The task was a programming assignment to help National Youth Service Corps automate the deployment of the graduating students to the 36 states as well as the Federal Capital Territory. The task also included ensuring that no graduating student was deployed to his/her state of origin. Moreover, married graduating students were expected to be deployed to the state where their husbands reside.
After the first few iterations, my friend and I started getting request to customize the codes from fellow students. We gladly accepted to do this free of charge but with the condition that the students had to but computer diskettes from us. This was the time the seed was sown. From 1998 till date, I have been involved in quite a number of business ventures and some of them are really exciting.
So, why should you take this route now? Why should you start a business while in school?
- You will gain experience. Owning and running your own business is an incredible way to gain experience and build expertise regardless of whether you decide to stay in business once you graduate.
- You will learn what they don’t teach or prepare you for in school: Entrepreneurship is the combination of all the disciplines of business. It includes knowledge of marketing, accounting, management and operations. This will equip you for life after school even if you decide to pick a job.
- Your value will increase: Starting a business in school helps to increase the value of “the brand called you” and gives you more options. For instance, an entrepreneur with a large brand value can publish a book, star in a documentary movie, or go straight to the top of another company.
- You have nothing to lose: When you are a student, you are still depending on your parents or others to meet your needs. The worst thing that can happen if your business fails is that you get a job, have an incredible credential on your resume, and have experience that will increase your chances of success in the future. The best thing that can happen is that you will go on to build a successful business. Either way, you will have something to show for it.
- You will develop networking skills: Your network increases your net worth. When you run a business, you will develop excellent contacts. Even if you decide to pursue a career after you graduate, you will have a great pool of people who will be more than happy to hire you or send your resume to somebody who wants to.
- Operating a profitable business in the long term is less risky than being an employee in the long term. Just look around you, companies are downsizing. Tens of thousands of people have been laid off. If you run a successful business, you will still be around and possibly doing what you like. Business owners are always the last set of people to go down with a ship. Business owners can have multiple streams of incomes from different customers. If you are an employee, you are most likely going to have only one stream of income and therefore are bearing more risk.
- The business is yours. You create your own hours, work from wherever you want and choose who you want to work with. You can also pick what interests you the most and build a business around it. If you like writing, you can write a book and do your own public relations and marketing. You can even start learning a programming language and develop a solution.
- And finally, you will grow. No matter the business you are running, you will need to learn new things. And this involves reading books and attending some seminars and / or training. This will ultimately shape who you become!
So, what is holding you back? Start NOW!