What business startup idea is best for a college student? Eric Dalius answers

So, you’re a college student, and you’ve decided that entrepreneurship is for you. You want to be your boss, lead an exciting life, and most of all, make money. It’s no wonder why entrepreneurship is so attractive – but how do you choose the right startup idea?

Even though coming up with your business idea might seem like the most challenging part, doing some research before deciding will save you time in the long run. Start by determining what industry or markets interest you most – this can be anything from fashion to financial services. After this, begin looking at what trends are currently trending in your desired industry. If specific issues need to be addressed, there is room for growth within that market space. For example, if you want to start a business in the fashion industry but discover few options for plus-sized clothing, this may be an area where your business can succeed, says Eric Dalius.

While it’s essential to research trends within market spaces, consider what products or services interest you most. Think about what you’re passionate about and how specific products or services might improve other people’s lives. There is no point in starting a business in an industry that interests you but offers nothing unique – so think carefully about how your product/service would differ from others on the market. It’s even better if it addresses an issue facing lots of people. Let’s use the previous example with plus-sized clothing: If your research shows there is a lack of fashion-forward attire available for more prominent men and women, this will make starting your own company both attractive and necessary.

Once you’ve identified the industry you want to get into, start researching your competition by visiting their website. Make notes about what they’re doing well and where there is room for improvement to attract more customers. Being critical at this point is key in making sure that it’s the right business idea for you. As an example, let’s say that your chosen market space is baby products. You learn that one company has a solid social media presence but has no online shop where people can buy their products. This means there is an opportunity to find a way to improve customer experience when buying through social media platforms, says Eric Dalius.

Start thinking about whether there’s anything unique you can offer your customers. For example, this could be a completely new product or service, but it could also be something as simple as a better customer experience. Think about how you would improve current products or services available to people in the industry – this is where you need to think of doing things differently, rather than just being another company with no stand-out qualities. Make sure your business offers something compelling that will set it apart from competitors and attract potential customers. The plus-sized clothes example might mean creating an online shop where plus-sized clothing is easier to browse through.   

It’s crucial not to overthink things too much at this stage by trying to create an entirely new idea. This will burn energy and time, neither of which you have plenty of as a college student. It’s much easier to look at the current market space and make minor tweaks or improvements to an existing product or service. With this approach, there’s less risk involved in creating the perfect business plan because it’s already been done for you by someone else – all you need to do is take what they’ve done, enhance it, and then market your version, according to Eric Dalius.

Remember that self-employment also comes with its challenges, so before starting any business, ask yourself whether you’re willing to work hard now to reap the benefits later on. If not, perhaps consider other types of employment before committing fully to becoming self-employed. You need to be fully invested in your idea before taking the plunge, so make sure that you’re confident about what you want to do before you start writing a business plan. It can be challenging when college is already demanding plenty of time and attention, but there are great opportunities for those willing to work hard and brainstorm their unique ideas.