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10 Essential Business Startup Lessons That You Do Not Learn At College

1. Deal with failure. 

An inevitable part of the startup experience is tasting failure. Almost all successful entrepreneurs have failed at one point or other. It’s a learning process that can help you make your next venture a success.  The truth is, it’s not the end of the world to fail. This is something that you will have to discover and cope with when joining the startup world.

2. Raising money.

Raising money for college is easy  compared with funding a new business. While some people rely on parental support, others pursue loans and grants.  

But raising money for a startup is infinitely more complex in its paperwork. Investors and banks expect you to present a detailed business plan that describes how a product works and how it will eventually make them a little something extra.

You may have to negotiate with investors and banks if they don’t at first understand your vision (another skill that you may not have acquired in college). 

3. Budget. 

In college you probably did not handle considerable sums of money. You lived off student loans, a part-time job or credit cards — not taxes, payroll, business expenses or office rent. If you had  extra cash, you savored it, even if that meant living off Ramen Noodles for the next two weeks. You really did not have to budget your money.

Just try to do that with a startup.

Being able to understand a profit-and-loss statement or balance sheet is vital. You will have to be able to budget expenses for the next six months, a year or longer —  skills you may not have picked up in a college lecture hall.  Sage Cloud Based Accounting can help you here.

4. Pivot if necessary.

A large number of students often change subjects and transfer to another College or University. It is not failure to change or "pivot" – it is a recognition that what you are doing is not right for you.  Pivoting is something that startups are becoming familiar with as in many cases it is about sometimes switching your business idea.  Again that is not failure.

5. Think outside of the box.

Often in College, there’s a right and wrong answer. But in the startup world, ambiguity rules.  

“If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original," author and educator Ken Robinson declared in a TED talk, “Schools Kill Creativity,” which has been viewed almost 27 million times.

6. Build the right network.

Connecting with people in college is not the same as engaging with people in the real world. A drinking buddy or roommate who may have been so crucial to you in college won't matter so much as you try to get a startup off the ground.

No matter how tempting it may be to hire friends, they may not be right for your startup. If you studied business, how often do you cross paths with an great programmer? Probably never. 

When running a startup, be ready and willing to reach out and engage with the right people, instead of just relying on those who are there. With the right network of people, the possibilities are endless.

7. Become a salesperson.

If you want your startup to succeed, then you must sell. You’re going to have to market the company's product to employees, investors and clients. 

Being a top-notch salesperson isn’t hardly something that can be taught in a classroom. It’s a skill that must be refined over time through experience and that entails being able to read people well enough to get them hooked on your company's mission.

8. Mind your health.

But at a startup, you and your employees will put a lot of hours and hard work. You just can’t call in sick because you have a cold.  

Since every day at your startup matters, take note that overall healthy employees are more productive and call in sick less often.  

9. Become a boss.

Some people are natural-born leaders. While great bosses may also be great leaders, not all leaders make great bosses. Being a great boss means that you should be able to guide, inspire and even make tough decisions. There isn’t a class for that. It’s just another skill you’ll have to learn in the real world.

10. Manage your time. 

In college, because of the abundant stretches of free time, you could enjoy leisure time and also make up for any "downtime".

That won’t happen at a startup.

There is no free time. You’re going to be working essentially 24/7, no matter how tired you may be. So while your friends are enjoying happy hour, don’t become upset about finishing up a business plan, doing research or having a late-night meeting with employees. That’s just the nature of the beast.

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