Do I Need to Go to Business School?
Our expert explains how pluses and minuses of formal business training.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I’m interested in becoming an entrepreneur but I don’t know the first thing about accounting, marketing or running a business. I don’t feel comfortable making the leap into the business world and feel like I could learn more in a formal program. What do you suggest?
Congratulations, you have some fun coming, whether or not you choose a formal program.
Business schools can expose you to a curriculum you might not seek out on your own, and force you to learn the basics of fields like accounting that can be hard to learn by yourself. They can also connect you with mentors and a network of other likeminded people who can be helpful in getting a fledgling business off the ground.
Of course, business school isn’t a requirement for entrepreneurship. If you are resourceful, you can build your own network and take advantage of the multitude of free resources online to get you up to speed. I even do one inside Udemy.com called "Start, run, and grow your business" but there are so many others, including Steve Blank's course on udacity.com.
Related: 5 Steps to Build a Creative Business from Scratch
Both formal training and launching a business are major commitments. To kickstart your research, consider checking out a session on entrepreneurship at a local community college or small business development center (SBDC). This will give you a sense for whether a formal class format will work for you or not, and if you think you have the energy to teach yourself everything that you might need to learn.
Books are another great resource. I like Guy Kawasaki’s The Art of the Start. Another favorite is 30 years old now but it has the core spirit of it all, Growing a Business by Paul Hawken. And I could continue on for hours, because the information available is endless.
Just get going. In the end, the path you should take is the one you feel is best for you. Start researching and remember to enjoy the ride.