What Education Do You Need to be an Entrepreneur?
Are you someone who has a lot of ideas on how to improve the world? Do you want to start your own company? If so, you’ve probably considered entrepreneurship. But where do you even start? Do you need a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship? What education do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Grace alumni Caleb Roth is no stranger to entrepreneurship. He has started, operated, and sold three successful businesses: ScoutIQ, Empty Shelves, and The Book Flipper Community. Plus, he owns and manages a number of Airbnb rental properties. He double majored in Business Administration and General Business and minored in accounting Although Roth did not have a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship, he would agree that there is a foundation of knowledge every entrepreneur should have. He offers some of his thoughts in response to the question, “What education do you need to be an entrepreneur?”
1. An education that equips you to get started with your ideas.
“Too often, over-analysis leads to paralysis,” says Roth. “You can talk yourself out of a great idea if you overthink it or spend too much time on a business plan. If you think you have a solid concept, find a way to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
If a customer will pay for that product or service, keep investing in the business. If no one will pay, you have to quit or pivot. A good education in entrepreneurship will teach you how to practically make your goals happen.
2. An education that teaches you to listen to your customers.
You have to learn how to connect with a variety of customers to sell your product. Having people skills will go a long way in making connections and building rapport with your customers. You can connect through making phone calls, asking questions on social media, or attending trade shows or conferences.
“Make an effort to strike up conversations with your customers and get to know them. When you spend quality time listening to their needs, it’s easy to find their pain points and create tools to help solve them,” says Roth.
The best ideas are generated by listening to the community you serve, so find an education that teaches you to listen well.
3. An education that teaches you to learn from others.
People are an important part of building your business, from who you’re mentored by to who’s on your team, people make or break your business. An education should connect you to high-quality people with integrity. Roth recommends checking out the book “Who Not How” by Dan Sullivan for more on this topic.
4. An education that helps you develop transferable skills.
“The School of Business at Grace hammered home the idea of ‘transferable skills,’ which means focusing on skills that can be applied across a variety of industries,” says Roth. “If you study other businesses, you can discover unique ideas in other industries and implement them into your own operation.”
5. An education that teaches you how to understand the numbers.
One of the most important skills to have when running a business is knowing your numbers. You need to know how to make a profit and keep that money. You need to know how to build a system that effectively monitors your business.
“My most valuable class at Grace was spreadsheets,” says Roth. “I’ve been able to analyze market data, run a book consignment business, navigate databases with millions of book records, and much, much more through the skills I learned in Excel. I can’t recommend that class enough. Put the effort in, and it will pay dividends for years to come.”
6. An education that cultivates curiosity.
“If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Roth encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to always be learning about new ideas through books, podcasts, and people.
So what education do you need to be an entrepreneur? An education that is practical, dynamic, interdisciplinary, and connected. This could look like a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship, but more importantly, it’s an education that develops the skills, passion, and drive you need to successfully launch and grow a business.
What education do you need to be an entrepreneur? How about an education that gives you practical experience starting a business? Grace hosts a Business Plan Competition every year, giving student entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business ideas and win up to $10,000 for their business.
To make your business dreams a reality, learn more about the entrepreneurial management major at Grace!