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Types of Businesses to Start

10 Businesses You Can Start From Your Dorm Room

From information technology consulting to snow removal, the sky’s the limit for college students to become entrepreneurs.

Hunter Hoffmann

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Mark-Zuckerberg

What do Microsoft, Dell, Napster and Facebook all have in common? Aside from being among some of the most market-shaking companies of the last quarter century, they were all also created by college students.

Sure, not everyone can be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but starting a small business while in college is definitely possible. There are several options that require little to no startup capital and can be done without an office space.

Entrepreneurship in college can help make valuable connections while also generating some income to cover tuition, meals and those very expensive textbooks.

Related: The Basics of Registering a New Company

Here are 10 ideas for starting a business from the comfort of your own dorm room.

1. Information technology (IT) consulting

Information technology is one field where having years of experience can actually work against you.

College students typically have the freshest skills in this area and knowledge of the newest technologies.

If you don’t feel confident promoting yourself as an IT consultant to businesses, put the word out on campus that you’re available to help the less tech-savvy majors with their computer issues, and build from there.

2. Social media consulting

College students are often on the cutting edge of social-media trends. Use this knowledge and experience to advise companies on their social-media strategy. Take them beyond Facebook and LinkedIn, and introduce them to new channels to get their messages out.

3. Graphic design

graphic-design-tools

Graphic design consulting relies more on creativity and talent than years of experience. Design majors should grab a portfolio of their best projects from class, print off some impressive looking business cards or feature them on a website, and get started.

4. Website design

Students are much more exposed to designing websites than ever before. Many have done so for a campus group or club, a fellow student or just a personal blog.

Those sites can be used as samples and leveraged in order to branch out to designing websites for a profit.

5. Photography

Thanks to platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, the world has become more accustomed to using images to communicate.

With a rise in the need for visual content, there has also been growing sense of comfort with using amateur photographers.

Due to advancements in technology, these amateurs have the ability to churn out high-quality work.

Related: 10 Businesses You Can Start Part-Time

6. Event planning

College students have probably attended their fair share of parties, but putting that party experience to good use is another story. Event planning requires attention to detail, organisation, the ability to multitask and creativity.

If equipped to handle the job, start a business around campus and become the go-to source for planning campus group or club activities. It’s important to note that taking your business outside of school may require special certification.

7. Personal trainer

Personal trainers have flexible hours and can conduct workouts almost anywhere. Personal training can oftentimes require a certification through an organisation such as ACE, but meeting the requirements, such as taking a certification exam and passing CPR/AED courses, may be easier than you think.

8. Cleaning services

Starting a cleaning business allows students to work flexible hours and doesn’t require an office. Not to mention, supplies needed for this business can be purchased at your local grocery store.

Many people are willing to pay someone else to do a dirty job. A gold mine for the cleaning business lies within fraternity or sorority houses the day after a big game.

9. Freelance makeup artist

make-up

According to Federal data, women have outnumbered men in American colleges for nearly 35 years. This provides the perfect opportunity to start a small business geared towards the female demographic.

Freelance makeup artists can generate revenue in the traditional sense of applying makeup to customers ahead of special occasions. Alternately, one of the newest ways to make money is by providing tutorial videos on social media.

Great content that attracts a high number of viewers can turn into YouTube sponsorship dollars.

10. Landscaping / snow removal

Landscaping and snow removal services are great seasonal businesses that can carry over vacation breaks and throughout the semester. Armed with a shovel, garden store equipment and some sturdy boots, students living off-campus or local residents could become very lucrative clients.

Related: 6 Things I Wish Somebody Had Told Me When I Started My Small Business

Even if a business is started by a student while in college, it’s still a real business, with real rewards and risks. No matter what the business or size of the company, it’s important to have insurance protection.

Things like specialised IT consultant insurance or a more general professional liability policy will help a company stay out of trouble if anything goes wrong. The bottom line is that college entrepreneurship can be a great way to earn some money as well as pave the way for continued career success after graduation.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Hunter Hoffmann is head of US Communications at Hiscox Small Business Insurance and is responsible for media relations, social media, internal communications, content marketing and executive messaging. Hunter lives in New York City with his wife and two sons, Walker and Otis. In his spare time, he moonlights as Chief Marketing Officer for Junior’s Fresh, a healthy pre-school meal provider in New York City founded by his wife, Michelle.

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Ideas To Start Your Own Business In Signage And Printing

The event is taking place from 13-15 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

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According to Lynette Nicholson, Research Manager at Old Mutual, ‘a growing number of people in working metropolitan households – particularly in the middle to upper income brackets – are finding ways to supplement their incomes by having more than one job’. This is based on research findings of the 2017 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor.

The signage and printing industry offers opportunities for small start-ups or those looking to grow their businesses with minimal investment. These opportunities will be showcased at the upcoming Sign Africa and FESPA Africa expo, which is co-located with Africa Print and Africa LED.

The event is taking place from 13-15 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

Entry level screen printing solutions

Screen printing on T-shirts and other promotional items is a simple and cost-effective business solution. It is also a way to open opportunities in new market segments. Applications include overalls, shopping bags, promotional, corporate and safety wear, wood, vinyl, paper, plastics, metals, flat substrates like clipboards, binders, notebooks, mouse pads, coasters, business cards, stickers and corrugated signs or posters.

Related: 3 Tips For Starting A Company In An Unfamiliar Industry

‘A minimal investment of R10,000 or less can get you started with a one colour table top unit. This comes with a screen a squeegee and inks as well as cleaning materials, photo-emulsion and cleaning chemicals. A heat press can be used to cure the inks. These vary in price, starting at R4,500 for a 380x380mm unit,’ said Dov Meyers, Sales Director at Chemosol.

‘For all newcomers into the printing world this is where you need to start because there are endless possibilities when it comes to screen printing,’ he added.

Depending on the size of your equipment, you can set up in a small space such as a room in a house or garage. Hall one at the FESPA Africa and Sign Africa expo is dedicated to textile printing, with exhibitors showcasing inks, screen printing equipment, garment decorating equipment, heat presses, cap presses, digital printers, consumables and more.

Mugs and promotional gifts

The heat presses, sublimation printers, crystal and glass decorating systems, inks consumables, sandblasting systems and equipment that will be exhibited at the event will enable visitors to enter into the Signage and Novelty and Corporate gifting market.

Sublimation systems allow you to print on T-Shirts, caps, ceramic plates and tiles, mugs, mouse pads, paper memo cubes, jigsaw puzzles, lettering, kit bags, jeans, takkies, belts, sweatbands, plaques, mirrors, coated metals and other miscellaneous fabrics and material.

Vehicle Wrapping

Vehicle wrapping is a popular medium to ‘drive’ brand awareness, and with the great volume of cars on the road and high congestion rates, it can be a very effective marketing tool for commercial vehicles.

Vehicle wrapping’s return on investment is high. Richard Wood, National Retail Solution Manager at transit media specialist Graffiti, said that the main reason for the high demand for vehicle branding is how cost effective vehicle advertising can be for brands.

‘The channel means that a business can use its assets as mobile billboards, which eliminates the monthly media fees associated with other out-of-home platforms.’

Related: 9 Answers You Need About Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

Various companies will be doing vehicle wrapping demonstrations on their stands, showing off the capabilities of vinyl.

Of course, these business opportunities require training and some research. Luckily industry experts will be available at the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa expo to answer visitors’ questions. For more information about the event, and to register online, please visit: www.signafricaexpo.com/entrepreneur

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Types of Businesses to Start

How To Be A Social Entrepreneur

If you’re ready to launch a business, but want to make a real social impact too, the social entrepreneurship model might be right for you. Here’s how to get started.

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A social enterprise is an organisation that serves a social and/or environmental purpose, generates income from business activities and reinvests its profits back into driving its mission.

Examples include African Schools of Excellence (provide world-class schools to poor communities at a low cost); Hands of Honour (upcycles waste and provide employment for former drug addicts and ex-convicts); and my own social enterprise, Nkazimulo Applied Sciences (helps young people become scientists regardless of their background).

Some people say most of the profits should be reinvested into the mission, but others say a worker is worth their wages. 

Doing business differently

Social entrepreneurship is a different way of doing business. Previously, few people cared about whether a company did good or not. Today, food outlets that serve healthy eating options are growing their market share because consumers now care about their health.

Related: Eva Longoria And Social Entrepreneurship

Farming responsibly opens the growing market that cares about the environment. More people care about the quality of education South African children have access to and support the efforts in this area. This is where social entrepreneurs can make a real, sustainable difference.

The entity can take any legal form, from a non-profit organisation, to a private company, a trust, or adopt a hybrid structure. Each has its pros and cons. Social enterprises take attributes from commercial entities.

They generate income from business activities. They also take attributes from non-profit organisations and government departments by tackling challenges previously addressed by these organisations, such as poverty, inequality, poor education and unemployment.

They run more efficiently, and are more accountable and transparent than public sector organisations. They are less dependent on external funding than non-profit organisations and charities. Worldwide, there is not enough grant funding for all the non-profit organisations looking for it.

Sustainable social models

An important element of successful social entrepreneurship is social impact monitoring and evaluation. The enterprise must constantly improve on delivering its mission and communicating the results of the impact to all its stakeholders.

Measuring impact may seem difficult. How can you tell a child became a doctor because they had access to lab facilities they previously had no access to? Maybe they were influenced by another factor. There are several tools to help a social enterprise focus its activities on outputs that will lead to the intended outcome which can then be measured.

These outputs become inputs that form a series of outcomes that, together, achieve the intended overall impact and become indicators the enterprise measures. Instead of measuring the number of learners who become doctors, the measure is the number of learners with access to lab facilities where none existed before. This is better than looking at the number of lab facilities provided, which is an input.

See the bigger picture, collaborate and achieve collective impact

These tools are called Logic Models. Demonstration of impact communicates why an enterprise should be supported by stakeholders. The use of Logic Models envisions the bigger picture and identifies other players to collaborate with to achieve collective impact.

Thompson Reuters Foundation reported that South Africa comes third in Africa after Egypt and Nigeria as the best place to be a social entrepreneur. This is very encouraging and is much needed in not only boosting the economy but addressing social and environmental issues.

Related: Busi Skenjana’s Two Core Rules Of Entrepreneurship

IN ACTION: Using a logic model to prove your impact

logic-model

A logic model is a visual representation of how day to day activities of an organisation relate to their overall mission or long-term goal. The model is key in deciding what to measure for impact evaluation.

It has six components:

  1. The current situation: The problem being solved.
  2. Inputs: Resources used to address the problem.
  3. Outputs: Activities and services delivered by the enterprise.
  4. What outcomes will come about because of the inputs?
  5. External factors, or circumstances in the environment that influence the problem but which the enterprise has no control over.
  6. Assumptions that are conditions needed for the success of the programme.

logic-model

Getting started

Involve all stakeholders in drawing up a logic model. The different perspectives help draw a complete picture. Impact measurement indicators are then based on these inputs and outcomes.

Adding value

Logic models link inputs, outputs and outcomes and ensure that the correct indicators are monitored and measured as an enterprise achieves its mission.

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Types of Businesses to Start

Selling Online: Be On The Right Side Of The Law With Your Ecommerce Start-Up

With ecommerce in South Africa growing at an exceptional pace, and the expected triple figure percentage surge of mobile spend predicted for 2018, it is more important than ever to ensure your online terms are in order.

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E-commerce is at an all-time high across the globe. Selling products online is no longer only reserved for large retailers. With a variety of ecommerce platforms available, it’s never been easier for start-ups and small businesses to enter this competitive sector.

That said, many entrepreneurs are unaware of how important it is to have the necessary terms and conditions visible throughout their online store.

With ecommerce in South Africa growing at an exceptional pace, and the expected triple figure percentage surge of mobile spend predicted for 2018, it is more important than ever to ensure your online terms are in order.

What are online terms and conditions?

Online terms and conditions set out your agreement with your customers and users. They can range from simple, standard terms for ‘browse only’ websites, to complex e-commerce arrangements regulating the relationship between the buyers and sellers.

Online terms should essentially set out the rules that you and your users will follow and the terms when a purchase or transaction is being made. It should limit your liability if your product or service fails, explain each parties’ rights and cover what to do if any conflict arises.

Related: 5 Ecommerce Myths That Are Sabotaging People’s Businesses

The terms which should not be neglected are browser terms, privacy terms and commercial/ transactional terms. Each one of these deal with specific aspects of your app or website’s use. It includes, for example, limitation of liability, intellectual property rights, the collection of personal information, payment methods, dispute resolution and each parties’ rights.

Here’s a quick guide to each of these and why they are important:

Browser terms:

Browser terms apply to anyone “surfing” your website before you have a customer relationship with them, i.e. before the “browser” decides to make a purchase. It protects your business by setting out rules for the use of the website and making it clear that you have no responsibilities to the user.

The most important things to cover:

  • users to acknowledge that you don’t owe them any responsibilities
  • users are to respect your website and intellectual property
  • users don’t yet have any rights to any of your services or products
  • you own all intellectual property
  • website content is copyright protected and that the user only has a right to view it on your website.

In summary, the browser terms set out the “dos” and “don’ts” in relation to using your website and exist to limit your potential liability to users.

Related: 5 Basics To Success When Starting An Ecommerce Business

Commercial/ transactional terms:

Commercial or transactional terms are by far the most important terms to have in place. It serves as the contract between you and the user, once they become a customer, i.e. make an online purchase or an order for services through your app or website. It is the binding contract upon which your start-up earns revenue from selling products or delivering services.

Revenue is the lifeblood of a business, so you should give careful attention to the commercial terms to ensure that the essential features, including those that are unique to your product or service, are commercially accurate.

The important aspects that these terms should include are:

  • a general explanation of the service or product being offered through the app or website
  • payment methods, fees and any associated costs i.e. delivery fees
  • user/ customer account or profile requirements
  • duration and renewal terms
  • the applicability of promotional codes and vouchers
  • any unique sale terms that would apply to the products or services
  • the terms applicable to returns
  • limitation of liability provisions
  • any warranties made by the parties
  • any other disclosures that are required to be made in terms of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002.

Privacy terms:

The goal of privacy terms is to create your right to collect and use certain information about the users for specific purposes.

Personal information is often collected through cookies as well as when browsers become commercial or transactional users of your website or app. Users do so by creating an account or by integrating their social media accounts with the website or app. You need to explain the rights of the users regarding the information being collected, how it will be stored and the purposes for which it will be used.

The Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (“POPI”) sets conditions for the lawful processing of personal information and privacy terms assist you to comply with the legal requirements.

Privacy terms usually include the following important aspects:

  • the use of cookies to collect certain information
  • the purposes for the processing of the personal information
  • the sharing of personal information by the website owner with certain select third parties
  • the storage of personal information, including the security measures taken and whether cross-border storage will occur and
  • the user’s rights in relation to his/ her personal information and the recourse that he/ she has.

Related: 4 Methods For Building A Successful Ecommerce Brand

In closing, online terms are there to protect you and your business. Although it doesn’t mean you won’t ever be sued, it will ensure that you are prepared and protected against unlimited damages. Furthermore, make it your priority to be proactive and mitigate any claims that may arise against you.

So, if you don’t have online terms on your website or app, make sure you are compliant and put them online as a matter of urgency. If they are in place, review them regularly and make sure you’re covered on all fronts.

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