Grasshopper has been making it easier to start and grow a small business since 2003. Back then, we were two college guys with a dream. Now, we have served over 100,000 entrepreneurs (and we're still growing).
Over the past ten years, I’ve learned a lot about growing a business, stuff that I wish I knew when I was in college at Babson.
If there were three tips I’d give to a college student, they’d be…
1. Read Books on Marketing, Behavior, and Disruption
I’ve gained so much knowledge from books. Your professors aren’t just making you do busy work when they assign them. Some of my personal favorites are
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely (which we’re actually giving to current Grasshopper customers)
The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen
Buyology by Martin Lindstrom
Buzzmarketing by Mark Hughes
2. Focus on Bootstrapping and Learning The Metrics
There’s a lot of hype surrounding venture capital and getting money from investors, but you’re much better off bootstrapping, learning the metrics, and building on your own. Whenever I hear people congratulate a founder for raising capital, I think how silly that is. It's not a prize or an exit, it's just another tool to help grow the business. Plus, even though the money looks enticing, retaining control of your company will be more important down the line.
3. Don't Waste Your Time With Incubators
Startup incubators and accelerators—places where you can get expert mentorship, a cool workplace, and some funding—are all the rage. My advice? Don’t waste your time. There’s a lot of hype surrounding these programs when you’re better off putting your head to the grindstone to build your company.
Support from Grasshopper
These are just some of the things I wish I knew when I was a college entrepreneur. Ultimately, you have to make your own choices to do what’s best as you and your company grow.
Our commitment to helping entrepreneurs is stronger than ever, so I’d like to introduce the Grasshopper Entrepreneur Scholarship, designed to help young entrepreneurs afford the rising cost of education and help them along the road to entrepreneurship. We’re giving away $5000 to a college student to help make dreams come true.
Want to apply? Just head over to our scholarship page for application information. Submissions are due on April 30th, 2014, so get to it.