Higher education prepares entrepreneurs for success in starting a business. While you do not need to go to college and do not need a degree to become a successful entrepreneur, the education and training received makes the process of entering the business world smoother and greatly increases your chance to achieving success. Entrepreneurship is the fastest growing major in the country, and colleges and universities are providing strong entrepreneurial support as demand for this business degree grows.
Higher education prepares you to build. It provides you with the business knowledge you need to understand how a business runs and develops, and helps you develop skills and the business acumen necessary to get started. The background helps you prepare to hit the ground running, as you do the actual work required to create and bring your product to market.
Though a college degree is not required, educating yourself is very important.
Does education need to be defined as college? No, but higher education genuinely helps.
The qualifications to become a successful entrepreneur include a variety of positive traits, habits and skills related to your specific industry, but possessing and utilizing leadership skills is important for all young entrepreneurs.
In addition, you’ll find a consistent reference to using your creativity and critical thinking to support your problem-solving capability, your willingness to assess and take risk, networking skills, and communication skills. Even an entrepreneur who works alone must be able to communicate well with an extended support team and customers.
At Envisionary Me, we refer to habits as being critically important. The following are what we consider the key differences between a successful entrepreneur vs. an unsuccessful entrepreneur.
What habits benefit entrepreneurs when they start a business?
A successful entrepreneur makes the following habits routine:
- Utilizing strong leadership skills
- Maintaining a keen sense of self-awareness
- Staying out of your comfort zone
- Setting goals
- Taking responsibility
- Embracing change
- Having a growth mindset
Higher education supports the development of all of these habits.
What kind of education is required to become an entrepreneur?
There are no set educational requirements for an entrepreneur to start a business.
That said – would an entrepreneurship degree be helpful? Of course! An MBA? Absolutely!
Every bit of knowledge and support helps you.
The entire purpose of these programs is to ensure you have the ability to build out your vision and possess the skillset you’ll need across all important business areas.
Knowing you’ll manage everything from building your plan, to developing manufacturing and logistics, to creating your marketing plan, and handling the accounting and financials, schools provide exposure and training.
The fewer surprises you encounter, the fewer hurdles and frustrations you’ll face.
Can you just get out there and create a startup like Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs? Can you skip high school or drop out of college and become a successful entrepreneur?
Will you waste timing having to learn everything the hard way? Probably.
Will potential investors be interested early on? Probably not.
Would you know the most helpful best practices? Probably not.
But could you? You can certainly try.
Do you recommend having a degree to start your own business?
I fully support higher learning no matter what field you enter. However, your situation may not allow you the opportunity to take advantage of higher education. ‘And if not, all is definitely not lost.
If your chosen field requires certain technical learning or certifications backed by a certain level of education, then obviously it’s required though. If you cannot attend now, consider your options.
- Can you attend part-time?
- Can you attend a different school?
- Can you start your business and obtain the necessary schooling later?
- Can you change your focus and eliminate the requirement?
Just remember – Entrepreneurs do not succeed on energy and charm, and energy and charm do not make up for lack of business or industry knowledge.
A high IQ may offer an ability to learn and retain, but depending on your industry and level of exposure, it could take you a long time to teach yourself and you might not even be on track. A high IQ also doesn’t make up for a lack of energy or an inability to communicate with others.
Education is the key, but education does not have to be defined as college education.
Is any college actually necessary for entrepreneurship?
There are absolute benefits to graduating high school and moving onto college. Whether you live there, commute, or attend remote sessions, it’s worth your investment. Without it, you’ll struggle to find the knowledge or create the training for yourself. You’ll learn the hard way, which takes longer and might be very costly. It could actually cost you your dream.
Ultimately it’s your knowledge paired with your personality traits and effort that will make or break your success.
Ask 5 experts for opinions and you’ll get 5 different answers, but they will consistently reference your personal traits, your leadership qualities, and the skill set pertinent to your business. Your entrepreneurial success depends on it.
It all starts with you. You cannot succeed without the drive, energy, desire, and skillset to start your business and then run the business.
In other words, you must have an entrepreneurial mindset backed by the related education and training to help you develop as a successful business owner.
Successful entrepreneurs are lifelong learners who embrace change, so don’t overthink, but definitely turn the mirror on yourself before deciding a college education isn’t worth it.
- prepare you well for your entry into the business world
- open additional doors
- create awareness of opportunities you might not have otherwise considered
It also helps you create a backup plan.
Many great jobs working for others require a degree just to be considered.
I’m not saying you need to give up your dream. However, having a backup plan in case your dream is suddenly no longer your dream is a Great idea. It happens. Like a lot. Your dream is your dream is your dream…. Until it’s not.
Let’s consider additional options.
Do you have any real-world experience in the industry?
It may be difficult to make up for the time invested in college level training but if you have other means – a solid other plan – or simply cannot afford it, then you need to make the most of an alternate path.
If your dream requires a certain technical level of expertise, you need to get it somehow.
- Create an apprenticeship.
- Partake in job shadowing.
- Accept jobs allowing you to practice beneficial skills.
- Take part in a mentorship program.
- Earn certifications.
Don’t shirk away from a part-time retail job that allows you to gain customer service skills and practice effective communication skills such as wording and diffusing emotional situations.
Writing out your vision, mission and business plan can happen fairly easily.
Creating your service or product and determining your cost factors and pricing model can happen fairly easily.
Practicing a presentation of your features and benefits, and how to position your consumer need in a marketing plan can happen fairly easily.
The moment you become an official business owner, you face consumers. You want these skills.
Now add to that. You are now rolling, and now face real-world delays and issues and feedback and deadlines.
Get all the experience you can.
What’s the bottom line?
Higher education is beneficial no matter what other learning opportunities we explore for an entrepreneur.
A formal education prepares you to build, but agreeing to learn, actually absorbing the information, and developing the relationships needed to run a business is up to you – the positive undercurrent.
With or without a college degree, you want to learn and practice the hard and soft skills and set yourself apart.
If you can go for any higher level learning, do it. If you can work toward a degree, go for it. All that you experience will help you succeed as an entrepreneur and build positive relationships. You want to be the person someone else wants to work with, work for and buy from. It’s not about being liked, but yet it is. Life is much easier when you are the person they want to help. You got this!