How Much Does Education Matter When You Own Your Own Business?

Most of us think that if we go to school and work hard, we will be successful. This is something which we are told all our lives by our parents, teachers, public speakers and various other role-models, but many people do not think that this is necessarily true, especially for business management. After all, you don’t need any formal qualifications to start your own business, unlike following many other career paths.

business education
Image from University of Salford Press Office

Many Are the Paths to Success

Popular case studies in the media might make us think that school is not as necessary and important as we are generally led to believe, and most are examples of successful entrepreneurs and business owners that did not do well with standard education. People like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Michael Dell are all examples of dropouts who went on to do great things, earn uncountable sums of money and change the economic landscape of the world. According to Forbes in 2006, only16% of the 400 richest Americans have at least a college degree. These examples show that education is not always a necessity for certain people, and not a prerequisite for success, but is it right to assume that education doesn’t matter when starting your own business because of such case studies? No it isn’t.

A Seldom few Stand Out

While some people use popular examples as ‘proof’ that education doesn’t matter, they fail to consider the uniqueness and rarity of such examples, and the fact that the majority of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs have taken education up to the college level, master’s level and beyond. In a recent article in BusinessWeek, over 50% of start-ups fail in the first 5 years and only 20% of failed entrepreneurs manage to succeed after failed attempts.

Learning has Never Been More Flexible

The link between education and success is obvious; education provides you with the knowledge, experience and application to succeed in the real world, and there really is no limit to how much education can benefit you. Further education does not have to be on campus; online education is now a great tool for taking high quality courses, helping mature students to learn whilst handling a busy life, or helping younger students who cannot move away from home.

Tap Into Specialist Knowledge

An MBA is usually chosen after the successful completion of an undergraduate course, and there are two major advantages to gaining one, especially if you own your own business or are planning to. An MBA gives you experience of what makes a business manager successful, including strategy, operations management, human resources, and organizational structure and behavior. Many courses are a specialized subfield of business administration, such as supply chain and accountancy, and these are important for efficient and productive business practices.

Why Re-invent the Wheel

Business owners who decide to not go for an MBA or related course learn as they go along, learning things the hard way and putting their business at stake in the process. Working harder is not as good as working smarter, and with a structured course you ensure that you are not wasting your time or exerting wasteful effort. Commercially, a course like an MBA program makes customers and clients think more highly and confidently of you, which always helps to increase your customer base.

About the Author: This blog post was contributed by Sarah Rawson. Sarah is a tutor for various MBA Executive Programs. She also moonlights as a freelance writer. Her articles appear on higher education blogs.