The key to being a great business leader does not lie in the degree or degrees that you have hanging on your wall. It lies within your ability to lead and formulate a solid plan, as well as your ability to implement that plan successfully.
So, does that mean I should not think about attending college at all?
A college degree can be a valuable asset, especially for a young mind, and going to college can often make the difference in whether or not you are successful, but you have to remember that your degree isn’t everything.
Just ask these 100 entrepreneurs who don’t even have a college degree, let alone an MBA. Now, you likely won’t become the next Andrew Carnegie, Richard Branson or Coco Chanel (most of us won’t), but that doesn’t mean your lack of a degree prevents you from founding a successful business.
You most certainly don’t have to spend over a hundred thousand dollars to gain a fancy degree in order to do so, either.
You can actually get started on forming your business right away. All you need to begin is a solid plan.
How to Formulate a Strategic Plan
I highly encourage you to start with a strategic plan. In the Freebies tab of the Business is ART website, under Featured Resources is a 1-page strategic plan template that will get you started. Chapter 3 of my book Business is ART walks you through it.
But once the strategy has been developed, a next step is to put together a business plan. The difference is that the strategy looks out over an extended period of time and is designed to close the gap between reality and vision. But the Business Plan defines how you will manage day-to-day over the course of a single fiscal year.
How to Formulate a Business Plan
There is also a template available for download on the Freebies – Featured Resources page of the Business is ART website and it is discussed in Chapter 6 of Business is ART.
Formulating a business plan is one of the most critical steps in achieving success, no matter how you define it. Research shows that business plans increase your chances of success by up to 50 percent.
Too often business leaders simply watch the financials, wing everything else and call it a business plan…then wonder why things aren’t getting better. The Business Plan gets you to formalize your thinking around such subjects as market and market opportunity, sales, PR and marketing channels, facilities, and staff as well as budget. It also encourages you to set targets that go beyond “we were profitable this week.”
From finding out what makes your business different from the competition to building the structure of your business by writing it all down on paper, planning will have you thinking about the short and long term future of your business.
Even without an MBA, or even a college degree, you can still act on your great business idea.
So Should I Go To College, or Not?
It’s best to look at college as you would any other business expenditure. It is an investment that can pay off or waste your money. There are things that you will learn and people you will meet in college that you might be unable to find anywhere else.
For me personally, meeting and interacting with a wide variety of people was worth the investment. There is nothing more educational that a room full of diverse people discussing the exact same topic from different perspectives that you can otherwise only imagine.
The value of a college degree depends on who you are and what you make of it. Just remember that with a solid strategic and business plan, like the ones outlined in Business is ART, your chances of business success increase exponentially.
No fancy degree necessary.