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You're not alone. All across the country, more and more students are seeking advice on starting their own businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving at Harvard, where many students, past and present, have become successful business owners--even founders of Fortune 500 companies. Now, some of the bright minds of the Harvard Entrepreneurs Club, a recognized student organization of Harvard ...
You're not alone. All across the country, more and more students are seeking advice on starting their own businesses. The entrepreneurial spirit is thriving at Harvard, where many students, past and present, have become successful business owners--even founders of Fortune 500 companies. Now, some of the bright minds of the Harvard Entrepreneurs Club, a recognized student organization of Harvard College, have compiled their business knowledge and experience into one comprehensive manual to aid students in making their entrepreneurial dreams come true. This professional and practical guide will take you step by step through the process of starting and maintaining a business. Poonam Sharma and fellow members of the Club have tailored this useful resource to the unique issues and obstacles that students will face. You'll receive invaluable advice on formulating a business plan, advertising, legal protection, business ethics, and much more.
Even if you have no professional experience, little marketing know-how, or even a small bank account, this book can teach you how to join the ever-growing ranks of students who know firsthand the pleasure--and the profit--that come from being your own boss and bringing your business idea to life.
Marketing Your Product (N. Duckett).
Financing Your Dream (A. Perrault).
The Business Plan (J. Turlais).
The Importance of Industry (S. Chang).
Protecting Yourself (C. Schwarting).
The Faces of Success (G. Tseng).
The Business Ethic (P. Sharma).
Here is just a brief sampling of the wide variety of distinguished speakers whom the Harvard Entrepreneurs Club is proud to have attracted to campus:
Speakers from 1997- 1998
Louis Kane CEO and founder, Au Bon Pain
William McDonough Executive vice president, Boston Federal Reserve Bank
Marvin Traub Former CEO, president for 40 years, Bloomingdale's
Jacqueline Morby Venture capitalist, TA Associates
Angelo Troisi Senior vice president, entrepreneurial consultant, Lee Hecht Harrison
Thomas Livelli Sr. Biotech entrepreneur
Speakers from Past Years
Steve Bacque Inc. magazine's 1993 Entrepreneur of the Year
Jill Fadule Director of Business School Admissions, Harvard Business School
Eliot Feiner Founder, Boston Chicken; CEO and founder, Brew Moon
Tom First and Tom Scott Cofounders, Nantucket Allserve maker of Nantucket Nectars
Dr. Bob Gaugh Cofounder, CG & Associates strategic consulting firm
Professor Myra Hart Founding officer, Staples; assistant professor of entrepreneurial management, Harvard Business School
Gary Hirshberg CEO, cofounder, and president, Stony-field Farm Yogurt
Erick J. Laine President and chairman of the board, ALCAS Corp.
Don McLagan Founder, CEO, and president, Desktop Data, Inc.
Allen Morse Chairman of the board, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
Milan Panic Founder, CEO, president, and Chairman of the Board, ICN Pharmaceuticals; former prime minister 1992- 1993, Yugoslavia
Rebecca Mark CEO, Enron international energy development company
Future of the HEC
The recent successes that the Harvard Entrepreneurs Club has enjoyed have served only to increase our enthusiasm for the future. We are excited about all of the plans and projects currently under way, and strive constantly to find new ideas and projects to work with. As we move forward into the twenty-first century, we have a vision of where we would like to be headed. With the support of corporate sponsorships, we hope to expand our range of services and invest in an HEC-based start-up. With the help of our counterparts on other college campuses, we hope to build a national network of business-oriented clubs. With the publicity from this book and our new web site, we hope to begin to expand our area of influence well beyond the confines of these ivy-covered walls. And with the enthusiasm of readers like you, we hope to make a real contribution to student efforts to become entrepreneurs while still in school. We appreciate your faith in the HEC, we support your interest in entrepreneurship, and we encourage your endeavor to strike out on your own and make a name for yourself. There is nothing like the feeling of being your own boss. And much like you, we the Harvard Entrepreneurs Club promise always to seek bigger and better things.
Reminder: School Regulations
When starting a business in college, it is very important to keep in mind that you may be subject to the regulations of your university regarding the right to operate a business, the use of university facilities, and so on. For example, Harvard students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with all of the rules set forth by the college regarding extracurricular activities and businesses. Harvard's Handbook for Students Stewart, 1997 lists specific guidelines for student organizations and clubs. These guidelines pertain to many aspects of starting a business. We include them here to illustrate our point that university policy can be a major factor in your college-based start-up.
There are a number of general requirements under which undergraduate organizations are allowed to operate on Harvard's campus as adopted by the Committee on College Life. These rules state that organizations must maintain their local autonomy and consult faculty members at the beginning of each term. Members must be students of the university, and all officers must be undergraduates. These organizations may not duplicate the missions of previously existing groups, and they must provide specific documentation for the dean's office. Organizations are required to notify the college of changes in their leadership or constitution. There are many more regulations, and we encourage Harvard students to familiarize themselves with them. The following extracts are from the Handbook for Students.
Relations to Harvard University and Radcliffe College
Solicitation in University buildings and on University property must have prior approval of the proper authority. Permission for each of the following activities must be obtained from the appropriate office:
The Use of the Harvard or Radcliffe Name and Logo
The University's Office of Patents, Copyrights and Licensing controls the use of Harvard's name and logo by all commercial companies as well as by Harvard groups and organizations. Students or student organizations interested in using Harvard's name or logo must first receive permission from the Office of the Dean of Students. Those wishing to use the Radcliffe name or logo must also receive permission from the Office of Communications at Radcliffe. Once final approval is secured from the Office of Patents, Copyrights and Licensing, t-shirts, posters, mugs or other approved objects bearing Harvard's name or logo may be produced.
Any organization wishing to raise funds outside the Harvard University Campus- whether from an individual or from an organization- must receive prior approval from the Dean of Students. Registered organizations must also obtain permission of the Dean to solicit support from its alumni/ ae and may request alumni/ ae information for the purpose of development through the Office of the Dean of Students.
Harvard Student Agencies
Harvard Student Agencies HSA is an independent corporation managed exclusively by Harvard students. The only University-approved vehicle through which students can operate businesses on the college's campus, HSA offers a tremendous amount of resources and guidance for entrepreneurially minded students. Besides the businesses that it owns and operates, HSA runs an annual business plan competition, the Let's Grow Contest, in which students can gain money and recognition. Their purpose and background are summarized on their web site http:// hsa. net:
Harvard Student Agencies was born out of Gregory Stone's idea to start a business incorporating the businesses that enterprising students operated out of their dorm rooms, without University supervision. The business formed from the three objectives of: providing employment opportunities to the needy Harvard community, providing valuable services/ products to the Harvard community, and providing business experience to students. While fulfilling these objectives, HSA grew into a prosperous business. Throughout most of its forty-year history, numerous ventures were created to broaden the range of business opportunities available to students. Since HSA's inception it has become the world's largest student-run corporation encompassing eleven agencies and its subsidiary, Let's Go Inc. with over 1,200 student employees. While accomplishing this success, HSA still maintains its founding objective of financing education through student employment and enterprise in its new location at 67 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA. 25 While we have done our best to summarize the main campus regulations affecting student-run businesses at Harvard, this section is not meant to serve as a comprehensive account. We advise Harvard students to consult the Handbook for Students for more detailed information, and to familiarize themselves with the procedures and rules specifically regarding Harvard Student Agencies, and its relationship to their prospective business. You are urged to contact the appropriate offices and agencies on your campus. Familiarizing yourself with the rules by which you are playing is the best way to make sure that you do everything correctly, right from the start.
Topics Discussed in the Guide
This guide represents a very exciting project for us, and is the result of many long hours of blood, sweat, tears, and coffee on the part of the writers of this book. We have exhausted every avenue, consulting hundreds of sources to pull together a highly informative start-up guide. This book is not meant for everyone. We have gone to great lengths to make it user-friendly, and included many anecdotes and examples in order to make it more pleasurable for our readers.
Our intent was to create a guide that lays out all of your options. We wanted to make your transition from mild-mannered college student or college grad to energetic entrepreneur as manageable as possible, by putting all of the basics together into one easy-to-understand manual. Here is a synopsis of what is to come.
Chapter 1: "Think Like an Entrepreneur,"
by Poonam Sharma
The entrepreneurial spirit is hard to define. It includes optimism, hard work, and a love of business for business' sake, not money's sake. Successful entrepreneurs are not afraid of failure, because they see it as a mere bump in the road. Chapter 1 describes the qualities we have observed in many entrepreneurs so that you may evaluate yourself. The chapter also suggests creative ways to look for business ideas- right in your own backyard. Next, the chapter debunks a few of the common entrepreneurial myths, and explains why they are myths. The chapter concludes with a number of dos and don'ts to keep in mind along the way. Chapter 2: "Marketing Your Product,"
by Ngina Duckett
Corporate businesses are those which aim to provide goods and services to other businesses or to the community at large. This requires precise planning and direct research of the particular demographic you intend to target. Campus businesses are those which intend to serve the college community exclusively. This market is more easily targeted but requires an equal amount of research. Chapter 2 explains why your idea may not initially sound as good to customers as it does to you, and why it is important to research the trends in and preferences of your target market. Financing and marketing methods are secondary to the question of whether your product will sell. The consumer is king, so consumer tastes are a major priority. Identifying and targeting these tastes is important. After you have identified your target market, you need to think about marketing methods. The chapter concludes by de-scribing the major components of a marketing plan and how to put your plan together. Chapter 3: "Financing Your Dream,"
by Anthony Perrault
Contrary to what Tom Cruise might think, it is not very easy to convince banks to "show you the money." When you are seeking financing, especially as a college student or recent graduate without much in the way of collateral or business expertise, you need to be creative in how you go about looking for money. Chapter 3 describes different sources of financing you can pursue, such as venture capitalists, angel investors, commercial loans, and credit cards, and discusses the pros and cons of each. Chapter 4: "The Business Plan,"
by John Turlais
A prerequisite to starting a business today is the writing of a business plan. Far from being only a means by which to raise capital, a well-written business plan serves as a start-up company's blueprint for execution. Within its pages, prospective investors will discover the company's philosophy, plan of action, expected challenges, and hopes for future success. Not ironically, the process of writing a business plan often proves just as revelatory for the young entrepreneur. By researching and outlining the company's market competition, strategies for implementation, and financial predictions, the entrepreneur discovers through the business plan the golden path to vast fortunes and, as the case may be, the potential pitfalls or barriers to entry. Chapter 4 provides you with a step-by- step analysis of each major section of the business plan, helpful hints on writing and researching the various sections, and a sample winning plan. Careful consideration of this material coupled with intense dedication will reward you with a business plan that will both acquire the needed funding for your company and serve as your torch in navigating the business jungle. Chapter 5: "The Importance of Industry,"
by Steven Chang
Chapter 5 stresses the importance of research in the industry of your choice before and during the process of launching your start-up. The chapter concerns competition, contacts, and trends. It shows you how to take advantage of the available resources from local libraries, government agencies, and the Internet to have a realistic prediction of how your idea will fit with the industry. Sometimes even the best ideas fail due to poor industry conditions. Keeping abreast of industry trends and being aware of the big picture could mean the success or failure of your business. The chapter explains industry trends and predictability, and concludes with basic information on economics and questions you should ask yourself before you begin conducting industry research. Chapter 6: "Protecting Yourself,"
by Carsten Schwarting
Depending on your idea, you may or may not need to think about legal protection. But you do need to consider your business's legal structure. Chapter 6 explains in detail the different ways in which you can legally structure your business, from sole proprietorship to S corporation. It also provides an overview of copyrights and patents, and describes the process of protecting your ideas, including ways that you can save money. Chapter 7: "The Faces of Success,"
by Greg Tseng
At this point, your entrepreneur's tool kit is pretty complete. We have sup-plied you with knowledge on marketing, financing, business plans, industry, and legal issues. Chapter 7 rounds out the Guide by presenting the personal stories of students and recent grads who have successfully started their own businesses. The 10 people profiled come from all over the United States. Their businesses range from 3-D display technology to painting services, but the founders have one thing in common: the entrepreneurial spirit. The stories aim to attach real people and real businesses to the ideas and techniques discussed in previous chapters. Chapter 8: "The Business Ethic,"
by Poonam Sharma
In the last chapter of the book, we want to leave our readers feeling energized. But it is also important that we leave you thinking realistically. It would be irresponsible of us to baby you- you are young, but not that young. Chapter 8 discusses the key components of a winning business ethic, and encourages an approach to business that is best suited for the college student's lifestyle. There really is no formula for success. Hard work, perseverance, and realistic expectations really do pay off. They are not just catchwords. It takes a confident, realistic, well-prepared individual to deal with the stress of numerous rejections before success actually comes. Setting a timeline for yourself is only half the battle. Some entrepreneurs find instant success, but the majority need to be more patient. The chapter concludes with questions you should ask yourself before you begin your journey on the road to success. Remember, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Conclusion
Now that we have provided you with a brief overview of the topics to be discussed, we hope you enjoy our guide. We bid you a successful trip. Jump in!
Posted September 6, 2000
So creative and insightful! I had no clue how to go about starting my own 'dot com', now I have the confidence. It's worth every penny of the fifteen dollars. Buy it and reccomend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.