College, for many, is considered a time filled with ample opportunities to learn, grow, and network to develop any anticipated future career, even for entrepreneurs. For Texas Christian University student Bryn Carden, entrepreneurship has always been on her radar for success as she studies Finance and Real Estate at Neeley School of Business. Now having started two organizations, BF Hats and Styles for Smiles, Carden reflects on her own experience of launching a start-up while still in college and breaks down her process into these seven steps:
Step 1. Observe and create
When striving to launch a start-up, the first step is to develop an idea. Suppose the big idea hasn’t hit yet. In that case, a great place to start brainstorming is by observing markets and demands, identifying consumer problems, and developing efficient and effective ways to solve them.
Step 2. Choose proactive courses
One of the most beneficial reasons behind building a start-up in college is the opportunity to combine schooling with entrepreneurial objectives. After figuring out what type of business to launch, a student can select classes that help develop the skills needed to run an organization successfully. A young entrepreneur should be sure to ask business-minded questions in class that revolve around a start-up’s objectives or barriers that have not been solved.
Step 3. Build a business plan
Creating a business plan is essential for knowing the next steps and primary objectives and establishing long and short-term goals. A business plan can also map out priorities when balancing school and entrepreneurship, helping pinpoint the greatest needs and laying out the business’ values and mission pillars.
Step 4. Network
College is an excellent platform for student entrepreneurs to grow their networks and test their ideas. Connecting with other students, staff, and alums is the perfect start to utilizing the community and resources a college campus provides.
Step 5. Identify target audience
Entrepreneurs should always know who would best resonate with the product or service they provide through their business. Being able to narrow down a target audience not only sets marketing and sales up for success when launch day comes but also raises chances for funding when pitching a business idea to investors.
Step 6. Seek a mentor
During college years, finding a mentor to console with while on the entrepreneur path can seem like a more accessible option with a campus filled with professors willing to help students who seek it. If a professor cannot act as a mentor or is not the right fit, one can at least make a referral inside their network or even to alums.
Step 7. Find funding
When choosing how to fund a start-up, there are multiple avenues, from private investors to crowdfunding. Carden recommends students talk to professors in a college’s business school, present their start-up ideas, and seek advice on the best funding options. Getting pointers on how to touch up a pitch can make all the difference when seeking financial support. Students can also check out their university to see if there are any available student funding scholarships or opportunities specifically for student entrepreneurs.
About Bryn Carden
Bryn Carden is a young entrepreneur and philanthropist with a passion for real estate and design. She is currently studying at Neeley School of Business, pursuing a major in Finance with a Real Estate Concentration. Besides working towards her degree, she has already begun her entrepreneurial journey as a co-founder of BF Hats and a creator of Styles for Smiles - a company selling bracelets to help fund cleft palate operations for children in developing countries.