The Importance of a College Education when Starting a Small Business

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The Importance of a College Education when Starting a Small Business.

The reasons for the interest and desire to start a small business may be varied. A desire to work independently, to be the boss and create a good income for oneself, not for another person, can be a great motivator. Starting a business may not be difficult, but staying in business and making it successful through proper planning requires a lot of business knowledge. A college education can help provide the know-how and facilitate success in realizing a long-term dream.

Many have the capability to do great things, but have not had the opportunity or the business knowledge to take such a drastic step. A new business owner does not plan to fail, however that person may fail to plan. "At any given time approximately 10 million Americans are attempting to start their own businesses" (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation). According to the Small Business Administration, only 66% of new companies will survive the first two years. How can an entrepreneur improve those odds? The best way may be very simple; get the relevant education, preferably a Business degree. "Studies have found that factors like having a college degree...can increase the chance that a new venture will survive" (Ramachandran, 2004, p. 62).

What doors can a college education open to enable success in a new venture? One may only have a vague idea of what to do. When attending a variety of classes and actively participating in the learning process, it is possible to be exposed to a wide variety of businesses and to be given the opportunity to learn about different fields, never before considered. An investment banker may find a new interest in catering, a college professor may want to become an interior decorator, and an insurance manager may find a new interest in the business of home organizing. By learning to be open to new ideas, a college education can have unexpected results.

When researching opportunities for a business it is important to investigate, question and analyze. Skills learned in college, such as critical thinking, the ability to conduct thorough research and using reliable sources are crucially important in the planning stages of any new venture. Decisions based on careful preparation will prevent costly mistakes and be the guide in examining unsound business opportunities and practices.

A business degree can open up a world of new ideas to explore and new ways of thinking. A class titled "Open Thinking" is even offered as a business credit course.

"Through this course students will: create openness through curiosity, taking calculated risks, active listening and observing as well as employing whole brain thinking;... analyze how culture, information, and personality influence their perception of the work; expand the function of their brain using a variety of tools and move towards whole body thinking by recognizing the need to use both mind and body together". (British Columbia Open University, September, 2004)

When evaluating how important education is to success in business, this type of training explores new skills in creating innovative ideas and enhancing problem solving.

There are many areas where research and evaluation of facts and statistical data play a major role. Thorough investigation and analysis are needed to evaluate if a start-up business is going to be successful. A statistical analysis of the potential profitability of any new venture will be able to ascertain the expected success and predict if there is a market for a new product or service. The Small Business Association emphasizes the importance of a business plan. It should define short- and long-term goals, include a pro-forma balance sheet, an income statement and a cash flow analysis. With a college background in financial analysis, accounting and business writing, it is easier to create a well written business plan which can help obtain business loans. "Because it provides...
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