Starting a Business while Attending Community College: Good Idea or Bad?

by Chad Agrawal

No doubt, starting a business is a great experience. But going to community college and starting a business is only a good idea if it doesn't interfere with your primary goals to transfer from community college to top universities.

Starting a small business is never an easy undertaking, and it's something that no one should take lightly considering the potential consequences of failure (to your credit, in particular). But trying to start a business while you're still in community college is even more difficult.

This is not to say that it can't be done; just look at Mark Zuckerberg.

However, your inexperience and lack of collateral could make it even harder to get the ball rolling, no matter how great your idea is or how much faith you have in your ability to make good.

On top of that, you'll likely want to continue to devote time to your studies, which could leave potential investors understandably skeptical about your prospects of managing a business (much less growing it).

So before you push the launch button, here are just a few things you'll need to get your business off the ground while you're still in community college.

A great idea.

This is a must. There are a lot of products and services out there that already meet the needs of the public, so you'd better have something to offer them that they haven't seen before, or at least a faster, cheaper, or more efficient take on what they already have access to. Remember when the iPod debuted? It wasn't the first personal listening device on the market. Heck, it wasn't even the first MP3 player. But Apple convinced people that it was far superior to every other option on the market because of the innate ability to make an entire music library portable. If you want your business to succeed, your best bet is to come up with something that people don't even know they need yet and then convince them that they can't live without it.

A business plan.

Even if you've taken a couple of business classes and found some templates online, you should know that creating a solid business plan is something that even MBA grads can have trouble with. You'll have to do a lot of research to create a comprehensive plan that spells out not only how you intend to launch, manage, and market your company for the foreseeable future, but also how statistics and demographics support the theory that you can make your venture a success.


Not all businesses need funding, or at least not massive funding. If you want to start an online web design business, you can clearly make your own site and learn how to optimize it in order to gain clientele, for example. But in the case that your operation is going to be a bit larger in scale, you may need to find investors to help you get it off the ground. This is where your business plan becomes essential, even if you're trying to get funding from your parents.


Most small business owners wear plenty of hats. You'll be the sales rep, the marketing team, and probably the busy little worker bee, as well. But you may find that there are certain tasks you simply can't accomplish on your own. Luckily, your unique status as a student can help you here. The campus is an excellent venue for networking with fellow students and finding cheap, skilled labor, so to speak.

A sustainable operation.

One major mistake that many first-time business owners make is failing to account for the ongoing costs of operation, both in time and money. Do you know how much it's going to cost to pay for web hosting services? How about secure messaging options like those offered by Then there is equipment, advertising, and possibly even payroll to consider, amongst other things. And that doesn't even begin to cover your time expenditure, which could seriously impact your ability to attend classes and study. If you can't sustain these costs you will not succeed, so it's important to tally them up before you get started.

This post was written by Chad Agrawal

Chad Agrawal is the founder of CCTS, helping students transfer from community college to Ivy League, tier 1 or anywhere else by following this community college guide.

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