Online resources

There's a wealth of information online to support budding entrepreneurs. We've separated the wheat from the chaff and recommend you develop your ideas using the links below.

The links are split by steps you can take to begin your entrepreneurial career while completing your studies.

Reality check

Thinking about what you realistically have to offer is crucial to the way you develop yourself, structure your business and relate to the outside world. Some factors to consider are:

  • Life experience
  • Values
  • Interests
  • Skills
  • Personality
  • Lifestyle

Related link: www.windmillsonline.co.uk

Windmills offer a suite of career and life management programmes to help you realise your potential. Work through their programmes to learn more about what makes you tick.

Experiment with your ideas at university

Work placements in small start-up firms or charities offer insights to entrepreneurial skills and challenge preconceived ideas about business. If you’d like to undertake a placement during your studies, here are some options:

Use your final year dissertation/project as a means to research your future business ideas and gain feedback from expert academics. In a similar vein, competitions present scope to work on specific briefs. Winning also provides greater professional credibility with new clients. Find out about upcoming competitions from the Career Development Centre

Join or set up a university society relevant to your business interests. It's the ideal environment to trial fresh ideas with minimum risk.

Have you ever wondered how others have achieved their business goals? Mentoring could offer you the wisdom and experience of others in the same industry, individuals from a different sector with business experience or retired entrepreneurs wishing to champion new talent.

Online coaching and mentoring network Horsesmouth matches mentors with budding entrepreneurs.

Get real about money

Realistically work out your business start up costs, the amount you need to live on and any debt you may have. Try to avoid taking loans. Borrow or hire equipment and utilise the skills and services of students through the enterprise academy, societies and other courses.Here are two resources to get started with:

Network

Through networking one can expand contacts and let people know about the products or services on offer. The old saying 'it's not what you know but who you know' is very relevant at this point.

Focus on the right goals

Taking an idea from your head to reality requires a great deal of focus and determination. In order to launch a business successfully one needs 'SMART' goals, which are:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Relevant
Time bound

Use the mindtools website to help set your goals.