Top 6 ProTips for Student Entrepreneurs

top-6-protips-for-student-entrepreneurs-18Some of the world`s most successful entrepreneurs started their businesses while still university students.

Many entrepreneurs that we see come through our doors are also in the process of completing their studies. If you are on this boat there are a few things you should know before becoming a student entrepreneur.

1. Have a Well Thought-Out Business Plan
Juggling school and a business can be very stressful and overwhelming. For this reason you will need to have a thought-out business plan. Know what problem your product or service is solving, research the market, evaluate the existing competitors, know the financial requirements, do a risk assessment, etc. The more detailed your business plan, the better. It will help you stay on strategy and prioritize your business`s short-term and long-term needs.

2. Manage your time
If you have yet to perfect your time management skills, this is the right time to start taking it seriously. In order to maintain a good academic standing, run a business, and have a social life, having a schedule will help you balance your life out. As a student entrepreneur you will have to weigh the importance of every task, meeting, event and schedule accordingly.

3. Manage your expectations
Building a successful business is a long and strenuous process, long than you think! Though you will want to see immediate results in return for your hard work, it will take much longer than you expect it to take. Be ready for product delays, negotiation delays and a delay in your ability to raise money for your start-up. Knowing this from the beginning will prepare you and will improve your changes of not going down the dark road of negativity, where all good ideas die….

4. Your Age is a Plus
In Quebec there is much government support aimed to help young entrepreneurs financially, professionally and emotionally. Many independent organizations have the objective of doing the same. PME MTL , PME, and Futurpreneur are just a few of the many organizations worth exploring.

5. Consider Joining an Incubator
Montreal has 6 universities with 12 junior colleges within just a 5 mile radius. Université de Montréal, ÉTS, Concordia and McGill, are some of the major post-secondary institutions with great incubator programs for students entrepreneurs (respectively, J.-Armand-Bombardier, Centech, District 3, and the McGill Dobson Center for Entrepreneurship). Pros of joining an incubator include networking opportunities within the incubator, and getting help with identifying resources that will help grow your business.

6. Seek a Mentor
Finding a seasoned mentor can help with gaining some valuable input for where you want to take your business in the future. You should embrace starting a business as a collaborative and educational experience. Learning from experienced and successful businessmen can help you take your business to new levels and avoid the mistakes your mentors have made in their past. ProMontreal Entrepreneurs mentorship program has been successful pairing mentors and mentees for the past 16yrs.

 

Being a student entrepreneur is definitely not easy, but it is feasible. With university students being more stressed, and overwhelmed than ever due to the high expectations that come with getting a post-secondary education, make sure that you are mentally and physically prepared for the responsibilities that come with starting a business. Either way, whether being a student entrepreneur is right for you, or whether you prefer to wait until you finish your studies, good on you for following your entrepreneurial dreams!
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This entry was posted in Best Practices, Start-ups, Youth Entrepreneurship by Katherine Korakakis. Bookmark the permalink.

About Katherine Korakakis

Katherine has spent most of her life working alongside start-ups in various verticals. For 10 years, she was responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, a Youth Secretariat program of the government of Quebec. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education. Katherine first developed her passion for building businesses when she co-founded Glambiton. She was instrumental in the development of the first National Entrepreneurship Day for the province of Quebec. Katherine has served on the Boards of numerous non-profit organizations and currently sits on PMEMTL Centre-Ouest and EPCA. She sits on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest. These entities are the decision making bodies with regards to business financing with the city of Montreal. She currently is Manager of Entrepreneurship for ProMontreal Entrepreneurs (PME), an early stage VC fund and entrepreneurship program that invests in multiple verticals. The fund has a social business model and has been around for 20 yrs.

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