The final semester of university is a time when many people start to consider what their life will be after university.
For some it’s getting a job doing what they’ve studied.
For others it’s a time to relax.
And for a small group, it’s a life of entrepreneurship and starting their own business doing what they love.
How to get your business started after university – the complete checklist
Do you know what steps you need to take to get your business off the ground? Don’t worry if you don’t know just yet, the below guide will help guide you through the steps to get your business started.
We’ve built this guide built on our own team’s experience starting businesses after university. This easy to follow guide will take you through the set-up process and help you set up your business for success.
Step 1. Have you got what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
We’ve created a quiz to look at your personality, drive, and give you an idea of if you have what it takes to succeed. Take the quiz above and find out if you’re ready to take the step into entrepreneurship when you graduate.
Remember that many different types of people become entrepreneurs, and nobody starts off as the perfect businessperson!
Step 2. Have you checked your eligibility for graduate funding?
From mentorship to graduate grants, your university should be one of your first ports of call when you’re starting up.
Step 3. HAVE YOU CREATED A BUSINESS PLAN?
Although sometimes seen as an outdated practice, creating a business plan will help you articulate exactly how you are going to make money. A business plan is essential if you are looking to secure funding.
Step 4. Have you chosen a name for your business?
Deciding on a name for your business can be one of the most exciting parts of starting your business. Remember though that a name is only part of your success and a great name will not guarantee success so don’t worry too much about selecting an amazing name.
Step 5. Have you registered a domain name?
Depending on the type of business you’re starting, selecting a name for your business might be intrinsically tied to being able to register an accompanying domain name. We’re now 25 years into registering domain names on the internet so this might mean you have to compromise on your domain name with either a unique domain extension like .co or by adding a word to your domain like my[yourdomain] or weare[yourdomain].
Step 6. Have you decided on a business structure?
Sole trader, partnership, limited company or LLP? When you need to keep costs to a minimum there is a case to be made for being a sole trader initially and converting to a limited company later. However starting out as a limited company will make your company look more professional and is probably the way to go if you’re serious about growing the business.
Step 7. Have you had a logo designed for your business?
Once you’ve decided on your business name and secured your domain name, it’s time to get your logo designed. Prices can range from $5 on Fiverr or £150 on 99Designs all the way into the thousands. Our business was launched with a logo designed from 99Designs.
Step 8. Have you decided on your marketing plan?
Efficiently and profitably finding paying customers will be critical to your success. How you will do this should be outlined in a marketing plan.
Step 9. Have you set up your record keeping?
In the rush to get off the ground, bookkeeping often gets relegated to the bottom of the startup to do list. However with the right system in place you will be thankful further down the line that you have kept the books efficiently from the beginning.
Becoming an entrepreneur can be a great journey, learning about the world of business whilst being your own boss and following your own path. If you’d like to learn about other graduate entrepreneurs, you can read our interview with Greg McClarnon of Splaat Media, or read some more tips from four graduate business owners (including our own CMO Jonathan Russell.