Imagine being able to run a small business while you are in the process of earning a professional certification. You may think that it’s hard to accomplish, but some known figures today started out with an idea and then molded it into a startup while attending college. Take, for example, Mark Zuckerberg. During his college days at Harvard, he was able to create an alumni networking that would eventually become the social media giant, Facebook.

Being a student, starting a business is definitely difficult, but manageable as long as you know how to properly manage your time between business and studies. Then comes the hard part; creating a business model that would grow by leaps and bounds. And if you do succeed, you’ll have a significant boost in the career ladder, and perhaps build your fortune from your startup idea.

Money is a huge factor that can make or break the business, and here are financial handling tips for students who are starting their startup concept.


Don’t take Intellectual Property for granted

According to WIPO, intellectual property refers to the “creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce” and is classified into two types:

Industrial Property —  Intellectual property that includes patents for inventions, industrial designs, trademarks, and geographical indications.

Copyright — Intellectual property that includes artistic works (drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures), literary works (novels, plays, poems, and the like), and architectural design. Meanwhile, rights that are related to copyrights include the following: performing artists in their performances; producers of phonograms in their recordings; broadcasters in their radio and television programs.

In any case that you’ve taken intellectual property for granted and then you lose its claim, it is a long legal process claim your original concept as  court procedures and legal representation are costly. For students or those who are just starting out, research done in advance can determine whether your original or eureka idea is entirely new or original; or perhaps someone has already thought of it first.

Intellectual Property is protected by the law. So, when starting the business, make sure to write down every idea and mark it with a date on it to prove who thought of the idea and be the first to register it to the government and to have the right to claim it as yours when the time comes.


Understand the art of making connections

College is the time in school when students get to mingle with professors and students with the same or different fields of study. And this is the perfect time to build connections that will benefit your business network in the future. College life provides diversity in building connections while providing authenticity to your business idea since prominent or experts are on your advisory board.


Don’t be shy to ask for help

Asking for help doesn’t necessarily mean asking for money for the business. As a student, you are surrounded by professionals within the school grounds alone. An instance is asking your Accounting professor about financial advice or getting advice from your law professor on how to register intellectual property. Make the most out of free support when you’re still in school because fees will apply when you’re out of college.


Involve school assignments with the business

Depending on your major, you can save a lot of time and money if you take advantage of school works, utilising it in order to develop a business idea or plan. Research on topics that coincide with your assignments and business idea to help develop your business idea further — such as the problems you want to solve, market research, feasibility studies, and relevant term papers.


As a student, there are subjects that involve business plans or feasibility studies and it would be a waste if you don’t apply it to a real business development case.


Watch out for grants

In Australia, the government offers support for education and training that will help students in their education fees or research funding.

Career development focuses on providing people with resources that will help them plan their future on a chosen career path through education, training and career choices.

School entry point gives school representatives access to the Department of Education and Training’s school programs when applying for funding.

Training grants help people to look for available training related grants within both Australian and state and territory government through a grant finder.

University life has various accesses to grants for potential business ideas and student entrepreneurs. There are various opportunities to help student entrepreneurs to have funding in order to push further ideas and make it a reality.


Compare credit cards

Dubbed as plastic money, credit cards don’t only involve swiping money in order to purchase goods and services that can be paid at a later date. It actually involves a concept deeper than that: which are credit ratings, annual fees, interests, and more.

The bad side of credit cards is you could lose a lot of money when payment is not made in time, but the good side is it can help when there are big purchases. You just have to know which credit card is perfect for you. And when you find one, make sure to become responsible in using it because credit ratings can affect your financial standing. A bad credit score produces the impression that you don’t have the ability to pay debts, making lenders reject your future business loan requests without a second thought.


Open a business bank account

As a student, one student bank account is actually enough to manage money. But it’s not enough if you have a business on the side. It is best for student entrepreneurs to have a separate business bank account for easy tracking of money coming in and out of the business.


Track everything

Starting a business in college requires serious dedication and commitment, and that means you need to keep track of everything to make sure where your expenses are going. Make a list of different expenses, such as your income, ongoing costs, expenses, incidental expenses, and everything else that involves money.


Get a retirement plan

Entrepreneurs don’t have employers to collect money that will be placed in a retirement fund. And as a student entrepreneur, you have the same situation; the only difference is you are able to start early in paying for a retirement fund that will eventually grow through time, which will become handy.

Having the best of both worlds — being a student and entrepreneur at the same time — has its own perks and loss. The whole process is challenging, but also rewarding when it starts to grow and show signs of success. As long as you know how to plan and integrate hard work and strategy, your business idea will eventually succeed. If you have plans to study business management courses in Melbourne, look for a course that has a track record of producing successful graduates. MCIE’s business courses focuses on developing leadership, management and business skills for aspiring business students. For more information about the courses available, call 1300 737 004 or email from Monday to Sunday at 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Melbourne City Institute of Education (MCIE) is a vibrant and innovative registered training organisation, which offers a range of courses in Melbourne to help students to fulfil their career goals.

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