It’s certainly possible, after all, to become a successful entrepreneur with no advanced education whatever. Just look at Michael Dell, who dropped out of school when he was just 19 and used just $1,000 to started a company to sell personal computers. Dell Inc is now the top PC maker in the world. Or Bill Gates, who dropped out of school and then proceeded to start the world’s largest software company and become the world’s richest man.
The truth, however, is that for every entrepreneur who succeeds purely on personal ambition, there are dozens of entrepreneurs who feel they don’t have the right business knowledge to take their dream and grow it into a profitable enterprise.
Many of the most famous entrepreneurs say in interviews that pure attitude – particularly a quality of persistence – is the key to creating your own successful business. Getting an MBA is obviously helpful. Keep in mind, however, that Donald Trump once said his time spent at Wharton Business School was spent “50% studying and 50% partying.” A number of colleges today offer degrees that are not only focused on business, but on specifically offering the education needed to be an entrepreneur. Babson College in Wellesley Mass., for instance, has an undergraduate program where students learn how to plan a profitable business, launch and manage it and even liquidate it ultimately.
That kind of high-end training tends to be for the kind of business person who’s going to draw up a big idea and then seek a significant amount of funding from venture capitalists to get it up and running. The far greater number of entrepreneurs starts much smaller businesses, from home-based internet startups to dry cleaning stores or restaurants. A number of online schools have sprung up in recent years to offer training in how you can be a financial planner, a web designer or other home-based worker.
Basic bookkeeping is one of the most critical skills you can learn in these courses, regardless of what kind of business you create. After all, no matter how much money you bring in, you won’t be very successful unless you’re able to hold onto it as profit. A great source where you can conduct research and even take free courses in how to draw up a business plan is the U.S. Small Business Administration.