Starting a Business as a Student? Why You Should Have an Exit Plan

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A lot of entrepreneurs and successful startup employees swear by starting businesses while you’re still a student. The philosophy behind that idea is that you’re ready to leap off the ground the moment you finish your education. While this sometimes works, you can never quite predict what life is going to throw at you. Everyone needs a backup plan – especially when dealing with something as ambitious as starting a business.

You’re Dealing with Time Constraints

Students are at least as busy as (or even busier than) business owners. This is especially true as graduation approaches. If you’re already devoting massive amounts of time to your education and you have a side gig to make some cash, you’ll be lucky to ever sleep again if you start a business. Some people won’t face the same kind of workload, and actually have the necessary time to devote to starting a business. If that’s not you, you’ll need to be able to find the time to keep yourself sane and healthy.

If you’re worried about time, start by focusing on long term planning. Devote your spare time to planning what you’ll do in the future, rather than actually implementing your plans. You won’t need an exit strategy if you haven’t actually started your business – there’s a lot less pressure when you focus on preparing for your future rather than building one from the ground up.

Your Education Might Take You in a New Direction

You’ve started a business, and things are difficult. You graduate, and you get a job offer that you would never have conceived being offered. You really want to take it, but you’re tethered to another obligation. What are you going to do? You don’t know what’s going to happen a few years down the road, and you don’t want to miss an opportunity to live your dream.

If this happens, you’ll need to know you can safely leave the business. Co-founding your business with others might be your best bet. If one or more of you needs to leave, the business will still be able to survive. If things are going really well, you might even be able to find someone to buy you out. You’ll be free, and your former business might even wind up better because of it.

You Want to Be Careful With Costs

Being a student is expensive. You need to be able to keep your head above water while you’re finishing up your education. Student loan debt is very high in some parts of the world, and the financial juggling act that comes with learning can be a real nightmare. If running your business is costing you money or it isn’t as profitable as you need it to be, you have to be able to pull away quickly.

This is easy to do when you’re running a business like a profitable blog or an eCommerce service. You can always sell your website and walk away with some cash. You’ll be able to pay off what you need to pay off, or use that cash to carry you through until you land a stable and profitable position.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use your exit strategy. If you consider every possibility before you start a business, you’re more likely to be able to prevent or quickly resolve any hang ups you might run into along the way. On the other hand, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into – you’ll have a much easier time.

This article was contributed by guest author Amber Brunning.