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Entrepreneurs are plucky folks. Even with the allure of decision-making freedom, time flexibility, and all of the other perks that come with being your own boss, the statistics are not in favor of those who strike out to build their own businesses. While there are legendary stories of entrepreneurs who did not attend or finish college — or in some cases, high school — those cases are not the norm. 

It may not be prudent to entrust your tireless efforts and financial investment into just luck and a good idea. Rather, when you are just setting up your business — or it’s in its early stages — are good openings to add more tools to your toolbox. One such tool is filling your education gaps to help your company — and you — reach your full potential. 

Bringing your idea to market

The primary reason to further your education is to replace any current knowledge voids that could be detrimental to your business. For example, if you can build or repair a computer with your eyes closed but don’t know how to write a business plan or understand CRM, getting a marketing degree or adding an advanced degree in business to your bachelor’s degree might increase your ability to create a business out of your talents; thus, upping your chances of success. Remember, it’s not just about starting a business; it’s also about running one. From customer pipelines to investor or banker pitching, you will be responsible for all of it — at least for a time.

Other learning tools

If you don’t have the money or time to dedicate to getting a full-blown degree, look for other educational opportunities available to you. The Canadian government has an online learning platform for small business owners to ensure you start out on the right foot. Other organizations geared toward specific population groups — such as minorities, women, and veterans — also offer knowledge and networking resources to help you learn and grow.

Don’t overlook your area chamber of commerce, either — they are not just interested in the major employers in their respective cities. You are likely to find several small business resources there, including discounts, partnerships, networking and marketing opportunities, and opportunities for professional development.

Location, location, location

Before you even begin to think about your physical or storefront location or your online presence and e-commerce capabilities, you need to back up and consider what city and state you should start your business. Per Crowdspring, some of the best practices to start a business are simply more “friendly” when it comes to things like accessible financing, average growth, and labor costs. Also think about how easy it will be to attract qualified help: What is the cost of living in that city? What would your average employee have to earn to be able to afford rent? Are there any transportation issues?

You’ll also want to consider the current available workforce. If your job openings require a college degree, locating your business in a college town may be another important and valuable consideration. This also creates avenues for college internships, which can help you with free or low-cost workers while training them your way for possible future employment.

Explore existing tools

Your workforce doesn’t need to be in-house, of course, especially these days, and your clientele could be located anywhere. Whether you’re flying solo or leading a fleet, you’re sure to benefit from the various freelancer tools available for conducting business on the fly.

Improve customer engagement with IFTTT, improve traffic to your website via Sumo, or use Mailchimp to take your email outreach to the next level. This is the electronic age, so put technology to work in ways that will serve you well.

Your own job security

There are several factors that determine small business success. If you are an industry SEO expert and have done your market research, you have important building blocks. However, there are so many other things that could happen that are out of your control — consider the pandemic, for one, or a well-funded competitor who moves into your city and cuts into your market share. Having a solid education puts you on better footing to stay strong when hiccups come your way. 

Photo: Unsplash
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Article: Gloria Martinez