So you want to be your own boss, but you’re not sure how to get there. We wish there were a straightforward set of entrepreneur education requirements that work for every single person. Instead, what each entrepreneur needs to learn depends on things like their goals, skills, and available resources.
The good news is, you don’t have to start from scratch, no matter where you’re starting from. There are some parameters and entrepreneur qualifications that can help you develop the skills you need to take smart risks and successfully grow a company.
But why is this important? For one thing, startup failure rates hovered around 90% in 2019. Of course, there are a lot of reasons why businesses fail. But some of the most common—like a poor business plan or expanding too fast—come down to a lack of education. Lack of education about how to successfully take risks, innovate, build a business, and grow it. And while some failure is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey, the right combination of education and skills can help failure become a stepping stone…not a roadblock.
Is Education Important for an Entrepreneur?
In short, yes. Having some form of entrepreneurial education and training is important because it helps you develop the right skills to turn an innovative idea into a successful business. So, generally speaking, what are the qualifications of an entrepreneur? Here are six skills that are important to entrepreneurial success:
- Business Instincts: An understanding of the industry you hope to operate in is key. But you’ll also need the confidence and skills to know when to practice restraint and when to take smart risks.
- Lean Canvas: The old way of developing long, arduous business models is gone. Today’s entrepreneurs use Lean Canvas to develop dynamic business models that people will actually read.
- Continuous Innovative Mindset: No two business models are the same, but a solid grasp of how to continuously innovate can help any entrepreneur build something that lasts.
- Critical Thinking: From self-reflection to analyzing data and other key pieces of business information, critical thinking is essential to developing a long-lasting company.
- Diversity of Perspective: We can’t know everything. And even if we could, we benefit from perspectives that are different from our own.
- Employee Empowerment: The ability to find, hire, and train employees who can help build a business matters. No person is an island, and that includes entrepreneurs.
What Kind of Education is Required to be an Entrepreneur?
In most cases, there isn’t any one set of education requirements for an entrepreneur. While there are some industries—like healthcare or law–that require specific credentials to start a business, most fields allow anyone to just jump right in…at their own risk..
Of course, traditional pathways like attending a college or university for business, finance, or a related field are a popular choice for aspiring entrepreneurs, but they’re far from the only option—and they might not even be the best one. Consider these alternatives:.
We all know the story of people like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs who dropped out of college and became hugely successful entrepreneurs. For some people this works—especially for those who have a natural knack for business and the right amount of confidence and drive. To gain the skills needed, DIYers could use a mix of self-learning through Google and other online resources and building connections in the business world.
Seek a Guide
In addition to learning on your own, one of the best ways to learn about how to start a business is by learning from someone who has already done it successfully. By finding a guide or a mentor in your area—or online—you can see the practical, real-world application of entrepreneurial skills and how they work in a day-to-day setting. This can help you learn by doing…not just by reading. As an added benefit, guides may be able to connect you with other opportunities in your area, too.
Accelerators, startup labs, venture studios, and other kinds of collectives often provide a curriculum for aspiring entrepreneurs to learn exactly what they need to know—while also connecting them to other entrepreneurs and potential investors. In this learn-by-doing model, innovative entrepreneurs are connected to resources throughout all the phases of development, from ideation to funded startup. These kinds of experiential programs are often lean—meaning they can continuously innovate and revamp their programs as new best practices come into play.
NEXT Studios: By Entrepreneurs, for Entrepreneurs
NEXT Studios is an Indianapolis-based venture studio built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. Our team of experienced entrepreneurs can help you refine your ideas, develop a model, and move forward with investments and talent. Our proven process walks you through ideation, productization, and launch to build something truly long-lasting. Whether you have days, years, or months of experience or education in the business world, if you’re ready to build something great, we’d love to connect. Drop us a line to get started.