Friday, June 25, 2010

Business Majors: Is the Entrepreneurship Focus Worthwhile?

This is a guest post by Dee Barizo. He operates The Best Degrees, an online degree site.

We’ve heard the dire predictions and alarming statistics for people starting their own businesses. Most operations fail within a few years and leave the entrepreneur deeply in debt. Sadly, this leaves the business major with a difficult decision in this uncertain economy. Do you play it safe by specializing in accounting or marketing, or do you study the broader field of entrepreneurship and eventually start your own company? With a business degree focused on the wide-ranging areas that form an entrepreneurship program, you may be able to beat the odds and grow your business well into the future.

Pros and Cons
First, let’s examine some pitfalls of entrepreneurship. Many people enter the world of startups with a great idea and no clue how to get it to market and turn a profit. They may be brilliant in their field but lacking in necessary business skills such as planning cash flow, developing merchandise, maintaining staff, and marketing products. Some owners may have the luxury of learning on the job, but even the best idea can collapse if there is no business foundation to support it. Those are some of the strictly business risks; your personal life may be in similar peril if you spend every waking moment dealing with your business.

But then there are the possible rewards. Who doesn’t want to be his own boss and skip the politics of larger corporations? Who among us doesn’t want to experience the benefits of entrepreneurship – financial, professional, and emotional? You can improve your personal bottom line, become a leader in a field, and provide support to your community. Win, win, win.

The pitfall paragraph is longer than the one about rewards, but don’t let that alarm you. One of the snares mentioned above is actually the key to preparing yourself for success: knowledge.

Knowledge is Key
Entrepreneurs have long been a valuable resource in our economy, and entrepreneurship degree programs can guide you toward effective business management with courses in product development, capital management, accounting, marketing, and finance. Most importantly for the startup business, quality entrepreneur degree concentrations will produce graduates who can write a practical business plan that is the template of a successful enterprise. In addition, top entrepreneurial colleges support their students with clubs, mentorship programs, and even business-plan competitions with prize money awarded.

Risk and reward, these are the ingredients of entrepreneurship that you must balance, but you can tip the scales by arming yourself with relevant knowledge and skills. You will be responsible for every aspect of your company’s success, from negotiating loans to hiring staff, and entrepreneurship programs offered by quality business schools can help you develop technical expertise, business theory, and people skills. With the degree and the comprehensive knowledge of business that it represents, you will be equipped to enjoy the challenging and rewarding experience of running your own business. Best of all, you determine what constitutes the true reward of entrepreneurship.

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