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Small Business

Education + Experience = Small Business Success

A college degree may not be a prerequisite for small business owners, but it can be a big help in their eventual success, new research has found.

Overall, 69 percent of the small business owners who participated in research by online small business community Manta say they have a college degree and 68 percent of those respondents say it has played a role in their success.

Though college degrees are important, business owners also realize a number of factors play a role in their success. Business owners without a college degree say having a business plan with a long-term strategy in place is the most important consideration for small business owners. Additionally, business owners also say that finding the right mentor, establishing and growing a network, and obtaining capital are other important considerations for business owners.

Business owners do not think college degrees are a necessity for their workers though. Half of the business owners who responded to the research say they have workers who do not have a college degree. Sixty-two percent of those workers say they do not notice a difference in the performance of workers who have a degree and those who do not.

Furthermore, just 21 percent of small business owners say that college degrees are extremely important to future career success, while 14 percent of respondents say a college degree is not important or has no value in the working world. The majority of business owners lie somewhere in the middle, either say college degrees are important or feeling indifferent about how college degrees help workers in their careers.

“I’ve learned that you can’t teach someone how to work hard,” said Gary Wheeler, owner of The Virtual HR Director, LLC, which provides human resources services to small businesses and nonprofits. “While I value higher education, I know it’s only part of what makes someone a strong addition to my team. I focus on hiring people that understand my vision for the company, have the desire to be challenged and the experience and drive to contribute to its overall success.”

The research was based on the responses on 978 small business owners who are also members of Manta.


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