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Starting a business at uni by Blackbullion Watch

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    Got a business idea? Ask Vivi how to get the ball rolling while you're at uni.

    Vivi is the founder of Blackbullion, the online financial education company. She’s a public speaker, media commentator and flat-white fanatic.

    Please be aware all answers will be posted on Friday 10 February.
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    I was thinking about starting my own business instead of doing a regular part-time job while I'm studying. I though it would give me more opportunities after I graduate. But, I'm worried that it might take up a lot more of my time and affect my studies.

    Any advice?
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    (Original post by Kenny456)
    I was thinking about starting my own business instead of doing a regular part-time job while I'm studying. I though it would give me more opportunities after I graduate. But, I'm worried that it might take up a lot more of my time and affect my studies.

    Any advice?
    Hey Kenny,
    Millenials are starting businesses more than any generation before - stats put it somewhere around 1 in 3 will try - so you certainly aren't alone

    Starting a business may not, in the early stages at least, give you as much money as you hope, though long term if you do well it could be far more profitable! And you get to choose your hours... Plus you will get a $&$% load of experience that you can boast about when you graduate

    But your question is about time, so let's talk about that.

    Starting a business, no matter what kind or in what space, is a time consuming exercise. You need to research, build, market, sell and then there is all the paperwork. And despite it being easier, and cheaper, than ever to start it is not free,

    Now, of course, the type of business will make a difference. If you want to start the next Facebook it will likely take a lot more time than if you get a bunch of mates together and offer tutoring on campus so you need to be clear about what business you are considering and why you are doing it.

    If it's for money while you study then a part time job might be easier. If you have a burning passion to set something up and feel your life would be worthless if you don't try then you must try.

    And then think about how much time you think it would take to do (and double it).

    So my advice is ask yourself WHY (check out Simon Sinek's "start with why" on YouTube) and from there decide if it's a path you are keen on.

    Entrepreneurship is amazing, but it's not an easy path and it's not for everyone.

    But it might be for you!

    Good luck
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    Hi Vivi,

    How realistic is it for a young person to be able to go out and start a business on their own (strength in numbers??) - before setting out to do so, what are the key things that one MUST consider and put into place?

    Thanks, R
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    (Original post by Ray SFE)
    Hi Vivi,

    How realistic is it for a young person to be able to go out and start a business on their own (strength in numbers??) - before setting out to do so, what are the key things that one MUST consider and put into place?

    Thanks, R
    Hey Ray
    Young people, like all people, can do anything! The potential is limitless.

    Depends how you define "on your own" - most businesses start with 2-3 cofounders, though that's not everyone's story, I myself am a sole founder and worked with agencies and contractors until I was able to start hiring. It's more stressful because there are only so many hours in the day, but it is not impossible.

    As a general rule (with tech companies especially) you need three roles covered; the hustler (the business person), the hacker (the techi) and the hipster (who makes it pretty and makes it work)

    General things to consider;
    1. do you have a burning idea/passion
    2. do you have some sort of plan/strategy of what you want to do and how (remember that ideas are far less important than execution of those ideas)
    3. do you have people you can tap for advice/guidance
    4. how will you pay your bills until enough money comes in? It will take twice as long and cost three times as much (there are all sorts of ways to access funds and make sure you can keep afloat)

    Everything is possible and you can achieve anything you want if you are willing to bust a gut to get there and you can keep financially afloat long enough!

    Good luck
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    Sorry a bit late but I had a couple of questions!

    Firstly, if someone had a business idea but no business know-how (as you might see on programmes like Dragon's Den!) what steps should someone take, also taking into consideration the chance that someone could steal the idea?

    Secondly, in a digital age, how important is it these days to have an online presence for the business, by having your own website. It's dead easy these days to set up a website, but any other tips for what this should include maybe?
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    (Original post by CJ)
    Sorry a bit late but I had a couple of questions!

    Firstly, if someone had a business idea but no business know-how (as you might see on programmes like Dragon's Den!) what steps should someone take, also taking into consideration the chance that someone could steal the idea?

    Secondly, in a digital age, how important is it these days to have an online presence for the business, by having your own website. It's dead easy these days to set up a website, but any other tips for what this should include maybe?


    Hey
    So second question first. digital presence is critical. That doesn't need to mean a website (though with time you will!) but you need social media to build your presence.

    With no online presence these days you are no-one.

    The idea that someone will steal an idea is a common theme but I would mostly park it and move on. Unless you have a staggeringly unique piece of code/ pharmaceutical, compound or invention I wouldn't worry so much.

    Millions of people have billions of ideas all the time... ideas are nothing and execution is everything. Not literally but you get the idea. Any idea worth having has probably been had before.

    Think of facebook, myspace was there but facebook executed better. Apple wasn't first to market but they did it so well they have basically built a cult around themselves because of execution and brand.

    Focus on being awesome!

    How would I start. Research, research and research.

    There are an unlimited places to go to learn:
    *books - the lean startup and E-Myth are the startup bibles - read both before doing anything else
    * podcasts - Harry Stebbings of 20min VC gives a great overview of how the venture capital world works and business in general
    * twitter - follow people you respect and see who they follow and take it all in (look at people in the industry you want and others you respect)
    * meetups - check out events in your area, go, listen, learn and ask questions. People in this space are always happy to chat. So ask them for coffee (and offer to pay for the damn thing! The number of times I hear people complaining that they gave their valuable time and the person taking that time didn't even offer to cover the flat white!)

    The best founders are able to adapt, are always learning, are self aware, have a "north star", and listen to everyone but follow their own path.

    Keep an eye on your health, keep an eye on your numbers and be willing to shift a little with your strategy as you move on and learn.

    Startup work is crazy hard and incredibly rewarding -I would never go back to banking... but there are definitely days I question my sanity

    Good luck and get hustling!
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    Thanks very much to Vivi for answering our questions.

    Student Money Week 2017 is almost over, but you can read all the questions and answers from the last five days in the Student Money Week forum.
 
 
 
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