Do you really need a college education to run a small business?
If we were to run a poll, odds are there would be a mixed response. And by no means do we want to negate how important a higher education is for our younger citizens.
So if you do have the ways and means, we here at Vionic highly recommend taking advantage of all the education available to you.
Keep in mind that according to census data, 64% of business owners do have at least some college with approximately 40% of them holding a degree.
There are both pros and cons in running a small business with or without college.
The Pros Of Having A College Degree To Run A Small Business
We thought it best to first explain some of the reasons it is a great idea to have a college education before starting your own business…
- Backup – By having a college degree, you always have something you can fall back on. Truth of the matter is, around 50% of small businesses fail. While you may be on the winning side, it just never hurts to have a backup plan. Having a college degree will give you an advantage if you happen to enter the job search funnel.
- You create a pattern of habitual learning – When you see how much you are gaining from your college studies, you will develop a habit of always wanting to learn. Now don’t get us wrong… Many entrepreneurs without a college education have also developed this habit, but it seems those who have a college education “grab” this habit easier.
- The skills and knowledge – Everything you learn in college can be used in your entrepreneurship. Sure, some people may argue that they do not understand how biology or calculus may be useful for entrepreneurs but someday you will see that it did help you. Okay… I know calculus itself may be of little importance, but the process of thinking in numbers can build your thinking and help you with data and statistics.
- Your credibility – Let’s put this in a simple example, you are a financial lender and you have 2 entrepreneurs approach you for a loan. You can choose 1. You look at their business plan and all the other information. Everything seems even until you look at their education. Entrepreneur 1 has a high school education. Entrepreneur 2 has a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. With all else being equal who would you choose?
So these are a few of the pros in having a college degree to run a small business.
The Pros Of Not Having A College Degree To Run A Small Business
Now there are some highly successful individuals who created successful businesses with little or no college education. People like:
- Steve Jobs – Apple
- Richard Branson – Virgin
- Dave Thomas – Wendys
- and Rachael Ray – The culinary genius who never trained in the craft
So you can run a small business or even a huge conglomerate without a college education.
Some of the pros in not having a college education to run a small business are:
- College expenses – Many college graduates have to pay student loans for years after they graduate. Even the lesser colleges have astronomical costs unless you are able to attain a scholarship.
- Forced courses – It is true that you will have to take courses that make no sense to what you have set as future goals. It does seem that since you are paying for the education, you should be able to choose the courses. But to attain a degree, you are forced to take certain courses that make no sense.
- The time – 2 years or 4 years? That is time which could be put into developing and growing your business. For many entrepreneurs, it could seem like wasted time.
Here at Vionic, we are in the business of helping small business owners succeed with or without a college education.
But today, we want to focus on all of you who do not have that higher education. We are going to give you 9 tips on how to run a small business even if you do not have business education.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #1: Find A Mentor
Having someone nearby who has “been there and done that” can be quite an advantage. We even suggest that entrepreneurs with a college education seek out a mentor when starting a small business.
Just having a person in your corner who can offer suggestions and tell you where he/she made mistakes can help you strive through any rough patches in your business start up.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #2: Ensure You Have Passion For The Small Business You Are Planning To Start
Passion trumps education completely!
If you have the passion, it really does not matter how much if any education you have in that particular area. Look at Rachael Ray who we mentioned earlier, she had no college education and did not even have any training in culinary arts. But Rachael loves cooking and her passion took her to great success.
You can achieve anything with passion.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #3: Develop A Comprehensive Business Plan
Here at Vionic, we have yet to come across any small business that is successful that has no business plan. In developing your business plan, you may want to consult your mentor and it is advised to have a brainstorming session with any team members.
A good business plan should have:
- A business introduction – The name, number, address and contact information for you and any other co-owners. It also should have a table of contents for the rest of your business plan.
- The summary – This is where you explain what your business does and how it will benefit consumers. You should put the business vision statement here and how the company will be profitable. You should also point out the “seeding” money and revenue projections.
- Your target market – In this section, you will want to detail your target market and why you consider them such. You will want to have references to back your information which you can attain through sources like census data, chamber of commerce, etc.
- The competition – No matter what your product or service, you will have competitors. In this section, you need to explain who and where the competition is and how your product or service will provide benefits and value over and above the competition.
- Your team – This section is the area where you focus on your core team. Whether they are co-owners, contracted individuals or senior employees, you should have biographical information on each including yourself. The focus should be on skills and strengths of each person.
- The business model – Here is where you will explain every revenue stream and cost analysis. You will want to cover every area that is probable (licensing, advertising, rent, inventory, etc.)
- Financials – This section will be full of numbers. You will want to cover current income and cost statements, and projected figures. It is recommended that you give details how and why you developed these projections. You should also put best and worst case scenarios with those projections.
- Where funding comes from and how it will be used – This speaks for itself; you will want to list all investors or bootstrapping methods and how funds raised will be used in running the business.
- And appendices – This is where you want to put all supporting documentation. That will include resumes, industry research, contracts, licenses, etc…
Just know that failing to plan is planning to fail.
Maybe you do not have the education to complete this task, so find people who do and will help you.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #4: Build On Your Talents And Outsource Or Delegate Your Weak Areas
You need to know what you are good at in the business structure. Don’t even attempt to wear all the business hats. Even entrepreneurs with Doctorate degrees understand that they cannot do everything a small business requires.
Determine the talents of team members and delegate your weaker areas to them. You may also consider outsourcing some of the small business tasks to freelance agents.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #5: Listen To Your Customers
We have witnessed highly educated entrepreneurs and non-educated business owners assume that they know exactly what the customer wants or needs. But the customer base has been obviously telling the business via social media and through customer service comments that they would be overjoyed with the product if some simple changes were made (color, switch location, etc.).
The business that does not make the changes the customer base is requesting is treading on dangerous territory. More than likely, those same potential customers will voice their feelings to a competitor who will “pick up the slack” and will solve the problem.
But is the business listens to the customers and makes the changes they request, happy customers and profits will be the end result.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #6: Hire Experts That Know More Than You
Okay, this is where you have to put your ego in the closet.
Yes, you are wise and you have the ability to build a highly successful small business even with no business education, but as we said earlier, you can’t do it alone.
When we examine some of the most successful entrepreneurs in history, you can look in the background and realize they hired or contracted individuals who had exemplary wisdom in areas the entrepreneur didn’t
- The accountant
- Marketing and sales manager
- Purchasing agent
- Content manager
We suggest you take your time and find the best of the best.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #7: Stay Abreast Of All Regulations And Tax Strategies
Even the most educated people cannot keep up with ever changing business regulations, tax laws and strategies.
In most cases, entrepreneurs outsource or hire an attorney and/or a CPA to stay up-to-date on these particulars.
You may be completely surprised how much you can save on taxes by using some simple strategies designed to help you, the small business owner.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #8: Focus On Leading
As the CEO who is running the small business, one of your primary tasks is leading. Great leaders and terrible leader come from both sides, educated and uneducated.
What kind of leader are you?
You chose to run a small business, so you have leadership abilities deep inside you. Here at Vionic, we suggest that you focus on those leadership traits and abilities. Start building those skills by reading leadership books or even taking leadership courses.
As you grow, your business team will grow with you and most importantly, the business revenues will grow too.
Run A Small Business With No Business Education Tip #9: Market Your Small Business And Your Products
You know, you can have the best product in the world that can solve many problems but if you do not market that product and your business, you will not get sales.
To start with, we would like to GIVE YOU this Ultimate 10 Step Guide To Tripling Sales Using Facebook. Just click and fill out your name and email and it will be promptly delivered. (popup appears on exit attempt)
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Thank you for popping in and remember that Vionic can help you grow your small business substantially!
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