Education is on the mind of all parents, including myself. There isn’t a child in the world that hasn’t been asked the question. “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” And depending upon their personal situation, external influences and experiences their answer will change by the day. As we enter high school, it becomes clearer about what drives us. What fuels our spirit and motivates us to do better.
High School & College
It seems by high school, the clock is ticking to choose a path for our lives, our careers, our futures. Entering college and choosing to complete your academic journey with a business degree always seems most desirable. When we are looking to go into business for ourselves; well the climb of the corporate ladder can be overwhelming. It can call out our insecurities regarding where we are headed in life. We will still want to keep the path with the most options open to ourselves. As a small business owner, how does the integration of an individual’s educational focus and training impact their success? Or does it?
Most believe if you want to succeed in business, then an education in business is where it all begins. Your education, in any subject matter will ultimately support you. But ensuring your education matches your desired field or industry will give you a step up. This boost comes from being already be familiar with the language used within the career path of your choice.
My Personal Story
My personal journey was very similar to this. As a child growing up in a family own business; the thought of actually owning my own business or going into business was the furthest thing from my mind. I wanted to do something fun. Working in the personal wellness industry provided just that. But as I got older, the call to the corporate world became stronger; strong enough it pulled me in without the academic background of a business degree. Fortunately, growing up in business I had a better handle on the common sense side of doing business than most my age.
I believe you can succeed in business without a traditional education or a college degree. The road is a little bumpier with a greater potential of distractions and detours before reaching your final destination. But hard work, dedication and commitment can and do make a difference. It will set you apart from others competing for the same position or promotion.
There are many who go back to school in their mid thirties, forties and even later in life. They go back to earn business degrees or enroll in professional education courses to support their business knowledge. Again, this was my approach. I finished my Bachelors of Science in Business Management when I was 36. I had 12 years corporate business and at a senior level under my belt. The degree was about me and my personal goals. It was not something society or a corporation expected or required of me to be successful.
An education in business does come with many advantages. Individuals, without previous business skills, will be able to develop techniques in demand. And also will be knowledgeable with current trends in their field. If your chosen work is in a different field – such has becoming a dentist, chiropractor, teacher, or massage therapist. It may seem obvious but having a basic level of business understanding will help you advance your career. Business education courses may cover topics such as marketing strategies, financial reporting and decision making. As well as organizational strategies and overall management. Going back to school later in life can provide a positive public, internally and externally). An image that your organization supports personal development and continuing education is valued. As an employee advancing your business skills, your company may reward you in the form of a promotion. Some may even provide financial reimbursement for your educational expenses.
As a young adult, thinking about career choices, education or just wanting to be a kid a little while longer can be overwhelming. These feelings about major life decisions, transitions and challenges that we ‘adults’ sometimes seem to forget. As small business owners and entrepreneurs, it is important to remember we carry the motivation torch. It is our responsibility to be motivating the younger generation. Encourage them to follow their dreams. Especially when answering the age-old question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And yes, when I refer to youth, we are only as old as we feel or care to admit. There are those of us in our fifties still trying to answer this question.
The success of each individual is not based on just their academic portfolio. But a combination of their personal drive and will to succeed. Their courage to embrace opportunities and challenges which push them a little further than they might have wanted. Remember the saying “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
In small business it is this same passion and risk taking which keeps us motivated. To get up and go to work each day. When and if we have the opportunity to engage in a conversation with a youth or student of any age regarding what it takes to succeed in business. It is our responsibility to ensure they understand academics provide only the rock portion of a strong success foundation . And our drive and passion is the mortar which holds the foundation firmly in place. From there, we can successfully build our futures.