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Leader of the Pack

Always the first to spot a trend on campus? Now be the first to profit from it, too.

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This story appears in the March 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

College is a time to explore new trends-to wear the hottest fashions, create the newest drink and jump onto the latest entertainment fad. You're young, you're free, and as a college student, you're neck-deep in a plethora of trends just by being on campus--the fashion magazines watch your crew to see what's going to be hot next season. So why not start a business selling a product or service that taps into a trend, and spend your college years raking in some fad-based profits?

The key to hopping on to a good fad with a college business is getting in early. "Do it as quickly as possible--get the first-mover advantage," says Stanley B. Gyoshev, assistant professor of finance at the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. "If you're starting a business like this, you don't want to be the biggest fish--you want to be the fastest fish." In other words, while it would've been cool to be the first to sell Napoleon Dynamite-inspired "Vote for Pedro" shirts on campus in 2004, it's over now.

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