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Out of School

Targeting customers far from your college halls? Here's how to get them.

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This story appears in the November 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You're in college, and you've come up with a brilliant new product or service. The problem? Your target customers aren't your college classmates--rather, they're people located off-campus, who fall into a wider age range and lack the college mind-set. That presents a challenge: How do you target this group?

Very deliberately and with plenty of market research to back it up, says Kathleen Allen, director of the Technology Commercialization Alliance at the University of Southern California's Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. "You have to work harder to find the potential target customer," she says. Use the same market research strategies you would to start any business, such as scouring industry trade publications and talking to community business leaders. Allen also suggests using on-campus resources, from state-of-the-art libraries and computer labs to tips from your professors and advisors, who can provide guidance on marketing outside the university.

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