All over the world the wave of startups is hitting the student community. Africa to New Zealand, there is no country which is not hit by the wave. The three technology phenomena convergence of technology, miniaturisation, and streaming video is hitting every industry. It is also catching the creative youngster’s imagination no end. Youngsters want to experiment with this technology and check whether they can earn pocket money or create a homegrown startup.
Is this good or not good is the essence of this article titled “Should Students think like Startups” or to rephrase the question, “Is it good for the student, the nation and student’s family to think like a startup and learn all the aspects of startups?”.
This article is for Medical, Engineering, Management students.
Firstly, let me make it clear that I am pitching for students to think like startups. What does this mean? This simply translates broadly to the following, students should learn about ideation, identifying a business gap, verifying and confirming it, market research, deciding on product pricing, product mix, technology usage, cost to manufacture, cost to market, source of funds, getting funds, getting customers, running the business and profit earning.
This drill will help students immensely. If they startup they will benefit from the above drill, and if they take up a job they will be better employees as they will be trained to take a 360 deg view of the investments, projects and new initiatives of the company they are working in.
Let us now start with the reasons:
Relevancy. Is the title “25 Reasons for students to think like Startups” relevant in today’s times. Let us look at the educational institutions. Most educational institutions are unable to strike a balance between theory and practise. For instance, the Civil Engineering department faculty are still asking is AI important or necessary for Civil Engineering students. This means the colleges require counselling to integrate modern technology courses along with the core major subjects they offer.
Students who come out of such institutions with only subject knowledge are of little use to companies and find it difficult to compete with others who are familiar with modern technology.
This is the right time to think of starting up.
By thinking of startups and doing a mock startup they subject themselves to routines which force them to think of integrating modern technologies which makes them familiar and exposed to the tools and applications.
Mr. Raghurajam Rajan, former RBI Gov. in an interview to CNBC, (dated : July 2018) says 1 million people enter the job market every month. So, the country needs a huge number of jobs. This is a typical short sighted view of someone who is dedicated to economic theory. To exhibit their knowledge and mastery of theory, the premise chosen has to be simple.
Instead what one should realise is that India needs more companies which means startups. It is these new age startups catering to specific segments which is going to absorb the youngsters and provide employment. At the Govt. level the thrust has to be towards supporting more startups.
Remember, days conventional jobs are dying out, rapidly. Automation is taking over in many human intensive jobs. Big companies are realising this and moving to serving super large corporate companies and simultaneously investing in promising startups. This is another factor in favour of starting up as takeover opportunities are opening up.
The second reason applies to job seekers. The jobs of today are entirely different from jobs of yesterday. Today, top companies want their employees to think like startups. Idea, execution, resources needed, profits and coordinating with the marketing team.
So, to be employed at an Top Company, one should think and work like an startup. And, what better way than to start practising when one is in college.
The starting point could be the projects students do in college. Students can select a project which addresses an urgent need, list out the solution, preferably incorporate automation into it, make it saleable in other countries, do a market survey, and create the pilot version of it.
As technologies change overnight, a huge consumer market of different hues is being created. This is a huge opportunity for student startups. Also, note that large companies are unable to address this burgeoning market on their own.
To leverage this growth, students have to think out of the box and think unconventionally. Students should not look for established models to follow and the reason is simple, there may be none to follow.
A complex issue which many component manufacturing companies are facing is the possibility of eventual slow down manufacture of automobile petrol and diesel vehicles
To move to higher value component manufacturing bigger investments are required. Seizing the opportunity, startups who do not have this backlog are making investments and bagging the higher value orders.
This is the best time to think like a startup. The Govt. of India has made it mandatory for all colleges to a have a TBI – Technology Business Incubator. A TBI will provide you with all the know how and resources to get started. The key person you have to get in touch is the Mentor at the TBI. There is no point in getting in touch with the CE of the TBI as he is mostly an administrator or a coordinator arranging resources and training programs.
You have the space and time to experiment and think. As a student you have the natural freedom to experiment, think out of the box and tinker. Imagine, after you graduate, as you start working, you won’t have the time and space to pursue your hobbies let alone work on a startup idea.
Remember, the time and space you get in a college are not to tie you down but to enable you to think experiment and lay the foundation for success.
So, make best use of the freedom you have to think and try out a startup.
You have nothing to lose, in fact you gain a lot. Suppose, for some reason you try a startup and you were not able to go ahead, it does not matter. In the short journey, you would have gained much experience and insights on how things work
People of an earlier generation would probably say, first take up a job, that was in the good old days. Today, you have to learn as much as possible as early in life as possible. And, you should have a strong theoretical background combined with practical experience.
Startups are the best vehicles for a successful career. So, do not be hesitant or be afraid. Try it out, you have nothing to loose.
Potential employers will consider your creativity and hard work you have put in and give you a higher scale. When you do a startup, and add your experience in your resume, you bring in a lot of value to the table. Imagine, having experience which includes ideation, market research, product design and such aspects in your resume.
I for one, would any day prefer to recruit an employee with startup experience when compared with someone who has no experience.
It makes sense in many ways to try and startup. The world is moving towards distributed startups catering to local needs. So, think local and get going.
You learn how to build teams. In today’s multi technology world it is important to have core skills and also be able to play as a team. When you do startups in your college days you invariably have to have a team. Searching, identifying like minded motivated individuals, working with them to achieve goals trains you for the challenging days ahead.
You will learn how to get funds, the difficulty of it, and the politics of it. Where there is money there will be lots of people looking to get a slice of it. Whether it is seed money, angel investors, bank loans, grants, business, jobs, you name it, there will be demand.
When you start a startup you will realise the real dynamics of money, how to earn, and the demand to spend it.
Tests your inner abilities. Maybe there is a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in you. Research shows that most of us tap only 5% of our abilities. When you think of starting up, you will be forced to test your abilities in an environment which is totally different a study – exam pattern.
At the ideation stage itself you will realise the types of ideas and the myriad ways you can implement them.
An opportunity to do what you love to do. Which literally means what comes to you naturally. How many times have you heard people say they do not like their job but still do it as there is no other way.
When you do a startup you will start discovering what you like and what you are good at and this will be a great testing ground for you to finally choose the job or business you would like to do.
Learn multiple skills. This is somewhat similar to Reason 10. However, a startup requires you to think of multiple things. What I am referring to is acquired skills. To create a startup, , you need to acquire different skills, for instance how can you perfect an idea, how to quickly execute a task, how to bootstrap, and how to collect information and techniques others are adopting.
Earn big money. Companies are nowadays are looking to buying a startup. The reason is simple. The founders of startups would have built from scratch and would be a highly motivated bunch of people. So, a startup which is otherwise great but is not growing just for lack of funds is an ideal cherry pick for companies.
So, if you as a student startup can build high value into your company and is in working mode the chances of you being picked up by a company increases multi fold.
Master the practical side of your subjects. College education has a big advantage and a bigger drawback. The drawback is it has very few elements to make you succeed in the real world out there.
However, the startup opportunity is there right in front of you for testing it out. The startup experience will give a 360 degree training on the practical side of learning and prepare you for a better job.
Face the world bravely. What is facing life? Facing life is complex as each one’s life is different from others. So, facing these different aspects your is required to succeed.
An youngster is by nature is brave. He has everything on his side. Age, energy and enthusiasm. However, he has to be made aware of present day issues and a sounding board is required. If he has a trustworthy mentor and confidence there is nothing he cannot achieve. When a youngster or anyone for that matter, is ready to go out achieve then we say is confident of facing the world.
The varied aspects you are exposed to when you startup gets you ready take on various aspects of professional life and to work to your and your company’s advantage.
Make new friends who matter.
Companies are stuck with old technology and outdated methodologies. This makes it difficult for them to take on new wave of orders which come into the market. You can leverage this inertia of companies and make a break with your implementation of new technology and get ahead.
Take the case of companies manufacturing automobile components. With the imminent disappearance of
Learn how to research. Research is the essence of entrepreneurship. Research can be theory or out in the practical world. While education will make you research about a subject, startups will give you an opportunity to research about a myriad things exposing you to how things work and fine tuning your research skills.
When you research you learn and as you learn to research well, you learn more! I know at least two companies who make products by researching smarting and finding opportunities to exploit. Did you know that there is a startup which teaches you to research, learn and succeed.
In my opinion, if colleges and professors are serious about training students for today’s world, they should train them on how to research.
The digital initiative I am assisting colleges to implement helps students to research well.
Learn how to serve people. The essence of entrepreneurship is serving people. The first step in a startup is how you offer a solution to a market gap. If the solution is appropriate and workable then you move ahead. This teaches a student how to serve people and earn money.
Learn leadership skills.
Learn how to thrive in stiff opposition. The startup and business world is highly competitive. You will learn how to thrive in such an environment.
Opportunity to Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Ans make a honest assessment of yourself.
Promote yourself. Before you start selling your product you have to establish your credibility by way of the seriousness of the problem identified, the superiority of solution you offer and the longevity of enterprise.
To do all this, you meet various people, build a team, and learn to put yourself in the forefront and promote yourself amongst stakeholders. In my opinion, this is one of the most life skills you learn.
Tap into the various resources available around you.
Start early. This is my favourite of all the 25 reasons listed. The sooner you begin the better. This is because, you will have abundant capacity to learn, you will have a head start, and the skills you build during this period will be honed as you move along and get you big rewards as you move along.
Take the case of many super successful people. Sachin Tendulkar, Albert Einstein, Blll Gates, the countless marvari businessmen, Mark Zuckerburg and many others.
Are you a student and interested in starting up?
I will help you create an opportunity and help you to prepare and meet it..
Want me to visit your educational institution and conduct a one day workshop on “Student Startups”?
Give me a call at 98451 65193.