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Thinking of starting a business in campus?


A new semester has started. Majority of the students are still looking for money to pay their next installment of fees or even finish their first installment. Others have finished paying in one go and others are waiting for HELB to kick in with some help.


Many students whether in public or private university have the same problems getting money to survive the semester. For some this is not such a big deal as their parents dish out money like sweets but for most students this is a big concern.

Scott Fitzgerald said, “the rich are different from us.”

To which Earnest Hemingway shot back, “yes, they have more money.”

Some of the most successful businesses in history were started in campuses. Google and Facebook had University students as their first users. So don’t be afraid to start a business, you never know where it will lead you.

It’s important to think of ways to supplement your allowance or pocket money by starting a business. There are students all over campus doing biashara. In the different campuses I have been to, there are usually posters advertising stuff on sale like jewelry, clothes, electronics, shoes, food etc. It may look like an easy thing to start a business but there are considerations that you need to put into mind.

I have run businesses in campus some were successful and some not so successful. So I am giving you tried and tested advice. I used to sell second hand clothes and shoes in campus. The business was successful even though it had its ups and downs. I love jewelry so I sold that as well. It had mixed results. I did make money but I had to close my business. I sent someone I thought was a friend to South Africa to buy jewelry and he disappeared with my money (90% of my capital). Lesson 1, 2, 3 and 4: Be very careful who you give your money to or who you partner with. That deal soured me for biashara until I left campus so sometimes some decisions have far reaching consequences.

1. Why do you want to start that business?

Identify your reasons for starting a business. Is it because it looks attractive? do you need the money? or you just want to floss?

Self analysis. Ask yourself these questions: Do I have the skills, determination, motivation, discipline, and patience to start a business and maintain it? Or will I give up as soon as things get rough?

Do I have the personal skills and experience required? Running a business may look simple but it requires certain skills e.g. an entrepreneurial spirit.

2. Finding a niche.

Are you selling a product or service that other people are selling? It is important to find something that you know will attract customers. Steers have a niche in selling ice cream on offer on Sunday. Pizza Inn, Nandos have an offer for Pizza on Tuesday. Will your product attract buyers? What is so special about your product or service?

Market analysis – does the market require your product. Who would be your customers? Do your research. No business will succeed if you do not do research and know your market.


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