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The Best Time and Place to Start a Business Is At University

Posted: 09/01/2013 17:09

By simply reading the title, the notion that its never a better time to start your own business as an undergraduate can be easily uprooted with the thoughts that you'd be much more adept at your chosen business with 20 years experience under your belt, time to build up seed capital and to give one's venture retrospective consideration that will help to erase the weaker elements of the business module.

Although all these arguments sound invariably creditable and appear as though one should heed them, they're all underpinned by one fundamental element: cautiousness.
It is a cautious person that waits to edit their business model, see what the competition does and continually looks at what's happening in the market before making any move.

Instead, what's often required is an enthusiastic audacity, a level of hyperactive confidence that one can use to snowball to success. Going to university is a huge change academically, culturally and socially, a brand new experience where one can explore new interests and reinvent oneself. With this new setting comes the enthusiasm one needs, something that festers the tenacity required. A tenacity that is encouraged by the the thought that one has nothing to lose and everything to gain, a tenacity that is kept buoyant by a free flowing, progressive atmosphere only found in the variety of different circles, societies and clubs that operate only at university.

What's more is that at university there are a multiplicity of people from different backgrounds with a plethora of different skills; from that friend with an interest in photography that can provide you with images for marketing to those with web design skills that provide you with a platform on which to deliver your product. Not only are there a gargantuan amount of people available at university with skills that can be utilised to push forward an idea, but there is an audience right on your doorstep to whom you can launch your initial venture. You're able to reach them quickly and personally, collecting orders and custom and you have access to a level rapid, insightful feedback for your project.

For me personally, in the initial stages of working through a concept for a business, I just have to walk into into my SU building, bump into someone I know vaguely and say 'so I've had this idea... what do you think'. And with candour one can expect responses range from 'it's crap, what are you talking about?' To 'yeah, sounds like a great idea!' - a modest attempt customer research, but something to build on.

In one of his last public speeches, Steve Jobs, the university dropout who pioneered the Graphical User Interface with Apple, was sacked from his own company, started NeXT computing, built the computer that Sir Tim Berners Lee used to develop the World Wide Web on and then finally became reinstated at Apple, told those in attendance to 'stay young, stay foolish'. A thought that encapsulates the notion that one must display an indelible zest, something being at university facilitates in abundance.

Some of the world's biggest businesses and brands have started on university foundations, Richard Branson with Virgin and Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook to name but a few, all built from dorm rooms and utilising various aspects of university.

As my favourite philosopher Derek Trotter once said, 'he who dares, wins', and being at university gives one the perfect opportunity to dare and to win.

 

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