Working in your lab or library all day – surrounded by post-docs and professors – you are bound to come up with some great ideas, but what can you do with them?
You might have come up with an idea that could change the world. Perhaps you have figured out a new application of your studies that could help revolutionise the way the world manages its resources, or how we deal with the consequences of climate change.
But the environment at your university might not provide any obvious ways for you to take the idea forward. And of course you may be too busy with your studies!
So how do you get started?
1. Tell People Your Idea
It is very tempting to think that you have come up with something so special that everyone will want to steal it immediately.
But most of the time this is not the case. Look around you, do these post-docs and professors really look like they are about to run off and set up a manufacturing plant for your new gizmo?
Or do they look like honest scientists who will happily discuss ideas, but ultimately just want to continue working on their own theories?
They probably are the latter, and as such a ready and willing pool of intelligent people who may help you adapt and change your idea into something really special.
2. Don’t Lose Faith
People love to tell you the reasons why something won’t work. Use these conversations as starting points for your business research.
Always ask people to explain why they think an idea won’t work, and whether this is due to technical feasibility, market volatility, customer validation – or just a gut feeling.
Use this information to ask others for their opinion and then build up tests to see if they are true or not. Some ideas are not worth pursuing, but don’t let just one negative comment be the reason you don’t pursue yours.
3. Seek Support
While you are clearly brilliant, you probably don’t know everything.
Neither do your immediate peers. If you really want to develop an idea into a business it is time to seek other entrepreneurs.
You can find them around campus, probably in the technology transfer hub, the business school or in the entrepreneurs society.
Go and talk to them about their experiences, find out what they did to move from the idea stage to reality – and start building up your own plan based on their advice.
4. Get on With it
Now it is time to build your idea and show it off. Whatever it is you can always draw a picture, model it out of paper, 3D print it, or find some other way of making your idea tangible to others.
This is your prototype. Make one as early as you can and then show it potential customers. These could be your friends and family, people on the street, or people suggested to you by your new network of scientists and entrepreneurs.
Whoever they are, you will start to get valuable feedback about whether or not people actually understand and want your idea.
5. Keep Going
Once you have made it this far you will be personally invested in your idea.
The journey is different for everyone. But if you have opened up to those around you, taken advice on board and have started to create a network – then you’re on the right path. Look out for opportunities in your university to join start-up competitions and entrepreneurship classes.
Looking for support to make that final leap from student to start-up? Find out how Climate-KIC could help you start a business.