College is a time to prepare for your future. Your time spent studying gives you the educational foundation to pursue your dream career. For me, college was about learning to be a good business person. This didn’t just mean that I would have the education to be able to make good financial decisions, but that I would also be able to build relationships that lead to business. I wrote this article to help current and future students get the most out of their years in college both in and out of the classroom.

Build Lasting Relationships

Doing business is all about building relationships. Building a mutually beneficial relationship with another business person is the best way to keep that relationship for a long time. People like doing business with people they know and like. I learned this early in my college career. I was a Sophomore at the University of Florida when I took an internship position at a local marketing company. At that time, I didn’t know much about the industry other than companies perform marketing in order to obtain more customers. After about 2 months of answering the phones, my manger gave me a small account to manage and told not to mess it up. The account had only been with us for 6 months at the time I took it over.

I called the company to introduce myself and let them know I was taking over the account. I thought it would be a good idea to try and sell them additional services. I was trying to impress my boss. The manager I spoke with was cordial on the phone, listened to my sales pitch and told me he would follow up with me if he was interested. The next day my manager called me into his office. He told me that we lost the account because they didn’t appreciate being sold to after just doing business with us for 6 months.
I will never forget what my manger told me, “Always provide more value than your customer is paying for.” That was the best advice I could have received at that point in my life. I applied that advice to every aspect of my college experience.

How to Network in College

Networking is a fundamental part of doing business and I applied my manager’s advice to networking with other students. You never know when you might meet a future customer or colleague while in college. That is why you have to always provide more value than your customer is paying. I thought of the people I met in college as customers. I went out of my way to provide “value” to them. I would help them study or give them a ride without ever asking them for a dime. I was providing more value than my “customers” were paying for.

I was able to amass an enormous network of friends and future business associates. When I left school, I started my own business. I took a small loan from my family that I was able to pay back within a year of doing business. The day I opened my doors, I had 10 customers. All of those customers were people I met in college. Today, that business is one of the leading insurance agencies in the state of Florida. Use your time in school wisely and set yourself up with the knowledge and network to succeed once you graduate.

Author's Bio: 

Matt graduated from the University of Florida with a Marketing degree. He owns and operates a Florida health insurance agency and prides himself on building lasting relationships with his customer. The agency specializes in family and individual health insurance in Florida.