5 Entrepreneurial Traits to Develop whilst at University
My brother Daniel and I, co-founded Cranes Cider in 2012, immediately following graduating University, having gained separate degrees and an appreciation for beverages. We have since successfully innovated, marketed, launched and secured national distribution of three successful product lines; Cranes Ciders, Cranes Cranberry & Blood Orange Liqueur and Cranes Cranberry Gin.
Starting a business straight out of University is a challenge to say the least and so, as Freshers week is fast approaching, I thought I would share what important University life-lessons can help prepare you when starting your own business.
1. Self- Motivation
Attending University requires a level of motivation, however, if you plan on starting your own business straight after finishing your degree, then you will need to find a whole new level. No one will be there pushing you or telling you what you have to do or how you need to do it. The hours you have to put into running your own business are like no other, we live, breath and dream Cranes Cider and have worked exceptionally hard to develop, market and launch our product lines, but also to get our products in-front of consumers, exhibiting at foodie events, festivals and retail roadshows nearly every weekend for the last seven years. Running your own business is definitely not a 9 to 5.
2. Industry Experience
We always look back and think we would have made even quicker progress with Cranes Drinks if we had worked in the industry beforehand. You only really understand the value of experience when you have to make an uneducated decision. Neither of us had any real experience within a brewery or product development, therefore we had to learn a lot very quickly and sometimes from making the wrong call. If we had worked in the drinks industry beforehand, we both feel we would have reduced the number of mistakes made. My advice would be to take advantage of University internships and placements, as close to the industry and field your future business would best suit. Brand Ambassador programs are also a great way to get experience, at Cranes Cider we support students with entrepreneurial spirit, by investing in apprenticeship program to develop students’ knowledge and experience within the industry.
3. Patience & Resilience
Starting your own business is a rollercoaster and you need to mentally be able to cope with that, you must be prepared for knock-backs. Working and living on a very tight budget is also an essential trait when starting a new business. Whilst your University friends are getting their first promotion and commission bonuses, you will likely be struggling to break even. University is a great opportunity to master the art of living on a limited budget. It is also important to remind yourself what you are working towards and that nothing worth having comes easy.
4. Time management
From when we first started Cranes Cider, we found that a lot of people approached us with a variety of different opportunities, from sponsoring events - to guest speaking, all of which often sound very exciting and have their benefits when building a brand. However, you have to be selective and manage your time extremely well. When starting a new business you don’t have anyone else to rely on, therefore time management is crucial, as is knowing when to say no. Learning to manage your own time effectively is something I really learnt at University, managing lectures, the rugby team, part time-work and obviously socialising, all has to be managed accordingly – again, no one is going to stop you doing something, but you ultimately want to get the best degree possible, which having a rounded experience. These traits are definitely something you can take into managing your own business.
When starting any business you need to have entrepreneurial spirit and self-belief to pull you through. Having now been fortunate enough to experience rapid growth with Cranes Cider, being listed in major retailers, we are thrilled we had the self-belief and didn’t give up.
Feel free to connect us if you have any questions surrounding starting your own business following University, I am happy to advise wherever I can.