Unlike many other fields, there’s no real single path to becoming an entrepreneur. It’s not like becoming a doctor, where you can follow a straight path from pre-med straight to your residency and finally, the USMLE. For entrepreneurship, people often take different paths to arrive at their destinations.
Some people can go the traditional way and earn a degree in business or entrepreneurship. Earning a degree in these programs is not incredibly difficult because thankfully, you do not need to have the highest possible GPA to get into these fields.
There are others, however, who choose to start their businesses without having a college degree. There are many famous examples of massively successful entrepreneurs who started their businesses without a degree. Just look at Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, two of the most successful entrepreneurs in the 21st century. There are many other examples, such as John Mackey who founded Whole Foods, and David Karp, who founded Tumblr.
But should you go to college?
Should You Go to College?
Going to college can give you the foundational knowledge you need to succeed in your business. However, college is not the be-all-end-all. In fact, a survey of small businesses shows that only 44% of entrepreneurs actually have a college degree.
College can get extremely expensive and can burden many with lifelong debt. However, if you believe that the return on investment you’ll get from your degree is worth it, it may be a good idea. Many may also choose to earn a degree to have something to fall back on if their business doesn’t succeed.
So should you go to college? Only you can decide. It may be worth noting, however, that there may be special circumstances, such as if you are going into a field where you need to be knowledgeable about the subject.
But, even if you decide not to go, there are a few things you might want to learn to help you succeed in your business.
Classes and Subjects to Help You Succeed in Business
Whether you’ve chosen to attend college full time or simply take some courses to supplement your knowledge, there are quite a few subjects that can benefit you on your entrepreneurship journey. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Accounting classes can help you better understand your business’s health by helping to reveal your company’s assets and liability and other pertinent information.
- Finance classes are useful for teaching you what you need to do when tax season comes around. They can also help you manage the flow of cash through your business (and your own life!). Finance classes teach students about risk and return tradeoffs, money’s time value, optimal capital structure, and more.
- Marketing classes can be incredibly beneficial to a budding entrepreneur. In any sort of business, marketing is one of the pillars of success. After all, you can’t sell any products or services unless people know about them. Having some knowledge in marketing can help you gain insights into market research and peoples’ interests. This knowledge can help you set up marketing campaigns that can help to engage your audience and bring more interest to your business.
- Economics may seem boring to learn about, but it can be incredibly important to your business. Taking even a basic class in this subject can give you a fundamental understanding of important aspects of business such as production and distribution, as well as consumption of services and goods. You can also learn about micro and macroeconomics, as well as government policies that could affect your business.
- Management skills are important in any situation where you have employees. Taking classes in management can help you become a more effective leader, helping you communicate better so you can motivate your team, help them collaborate with each other, and more. You can also learn skills such as budgeting.
- Technology-related classes can help you run your business better. You don’t have to be a computer scientist unless your field demands it, but it is certainly a good idea to be tech-savvy at the very least. A minimum level of tech-savviness can help you use tools that can make your life as a business owner easier.
Going to college can be an expensive endeavor that may or may not prove to be worth it. Whatever your decision, there are some subjects that might still be good to know to help you succeed in business. Good luck!