How to Start a Student-Run Business

Okay okay, let’s talk about something other than the rona for a second. In our current project for entrepreneurship, we are diving headfirst into the business world by creating our own start-up businesses. We can work individually or in small groups in order to come up with an idea that we can make a business out of. We need to make a full business model canvas, as well as talk to the community about what they want to see in a local business. This is a super interesting project because we will get to use our business skills we have been working on all year to create something we are passionate about. 

For my idea, I wanted to work with my friend Kacey and create a student-run photography business. This would replace the current photography business that takes out student pictures each year. The company is expensive and they don’t do the best job, so we thought it would be a cool idea if we could start something that could replace it. We came up with this idea when we were working on another project where we took all of the teacher portraits for the 2019-2020 yearbook. We thought it would be so cool if the student pictures were more interesting and fun in some way and not just them standing still with their thumbs in their pockets. It would also give the students who are interested in this field first-hand experience with taking professional portraits that will be shared everywhere, 

Since we are just starting this project, we had some questions on where to start. We’ve done some basic research and plan to expand next week. One of these questions was “How do we start a student-run business?” What is required? So, that is what this post is going to attempt to answer.

One of the most common tips I found was to use the resources we are given as students. As a K-State student, we have an ample amount of tools at your disposal. Organizations such as Career and Employment Services and Powercat Financial Counseling could help with market research and budgeting techniques. The venture starters sponsored by the K-State Center for Advancement of Entrepreneurship are another free resource we can use to actually start the business from the ground up and get started.

Another great tip to remember is to start out small. As students going into college in 2021, we have no money. So we definitely cannot spend $30,000 (average cost to start a business from scratch) right now. But, we can plan everything out and get an idea of how we can make the business happen in case one day we come together and decide we actually want to do this. We can start small just like some of the biggest companies in the world. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and BIll Gates all started in a garage and became household names by following their dreams. I have no intention to become a household name, but the point is, you can start small and grow from there just like these great people did.

Lastly, talk to your target audience and see what they would want from a student-run business. This is something I plan on doing soon because I want to see what we can do differently than what the current company does. Obviously,  students would take the pictures instead of photographers, but I wanna know what else schools are looking for. I plan on asking some of the teachers on campus to listen to our idea and see what they want from our business. This is a great way to get feedback and show you are listening. Building relationships between you and your target market is a great way to get your brand out there and get more business. 

We are very excited about this project. Photography is something we both love and have a passion and this project is the perfect way to connect a passion to a business. I love the opportunities this class has given me and I am so grateful that I get to work with such lovely people who think the same way I do. I am very excited to see how this project goes and maybe we could make this basic idea something bigger.

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