You Don't Need a Harvard MBA to Start a Business

Tips to Start a Small Business

Have you ever said, "I wish I could start a business!" As a small business owner, people say that to me a lot and I respond, "You can!" Then, they usually have a laundry list of reasons why they can't start a business such as: I'm not qualified and don't have enough experience, I don't have an MBA, I'm not a business person, I don't have the time, and I don't have the money.

Guess what? None of those things should stop you from starting a business! Let's talk more about the reasons people refrain from following their passion and tips from the pros on venturing out on your own.

Do you want to start a small business but don't think you have the qualifications?

Many people think they need an MBA from a top-notch schools. Not so, says Forbes.com in their article, "No Degree? No Problem...at Least for Small Business Owners." J. Maureen Henderson writes, "When it comes to the value of a college education, there is one sector in which it's perceived to offer surprisingly little - small business. Manta just released their SMB Q2 Wellness Index results and for the business owners they surveyed, higher ed doesn't get particularly high marks as a key factor in their own success or as a criterion for hiring."

So just because you may or may not have gone to college shouldn't stop you from pursuing your dream of owning a small business.

What really motivates someone to start a business?

In and article from BusinessNewsDaily.com "Nothing beats the freedom of being the boss — at least when it comes to the entrepreneurial efforts of small business owners. 

New research from Cox Business has found that more than half of small business owners start their own business in order to be their own boss. The researchers found that people were also motivated by the idea of creating something from the ground up. Overall, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they had started their own business for one of those reasons.

Money, on the other hand, is not a motivating factor for many small business owners: Just 8 percent of respondents said that was their main motivation for starting their own business." Read more at BusinessNewsDaily.com

How Much Experience Do You Need to Start Your Own Business?

In an article with the Guardian, Filipa Neto managing director of Chic by Choice says, "Start as soon as you can: you can learn as you go and you have nothing to lose."

Neto goes on to say, "My first experience of starting a business was at the age of 21, as co-founder of a fashion startup, after winning the biggest entrepreneurship competition in my country. For me, it was about challenging myself to develop something other women would love, pursuing two of my passions (e-commerce and fashion) and inspiring others to take that same risk and chase their dream job.

Was it bad to start at 21? Not at all, it was the best thing I ever did because it showed me that if you are going to fail, you should fail fast, fail young (and start again). It’s never a real failure, it’s an important lesson.

By the age of 23, after only two years, I had performed nine or ten different roles within the company: from product management, human resources management, marketing and partnerships to accounting. For me, it’s not about age, it’s about relevant experience, the more diverse, the better. I eventually left my first startup and started Chic by Choice.

Startups give you the opportunity to learn the most valuable business lessons out there. Startups are not smaller versions of larger companies, they are something very different. You are not performing the same tasks for years, waiting for a promotion; instead, you are performing several different roles per day. This means that two to four years at a startup isn’t comparable to the equivalent time spent in a large company."

Neto incorporates a three skill motto: 

  • Preparation
  • Persistence
  • No Fear of Failure

"Preparation can come from everywhere. Firstly, you need to realise that in your 20s you don’t know everything. Chances of success are higher if you surrounded yourself with the knowledge and wisdom that comes from different mentors with different experiences and different skills. You might be surprised to find out how many high-profile businesspeople are willing to help you achieve your potential and discover your strengths. Those mentors are the ones who will help you through the bad days and teach you that nothing comes without persistence," say Neto. Read the full article.

Do any of these Small Business Statistics Sound Like You?

In a 2013 survey of small business owners, by Deluxe.com, it was revealed that people who own a small business describe themselves as practical leaders and doers. 79% of them like to do their homework before purchasing and 76% have a family member who owned a small business. Do any of these things sound like you? It might be time to branch out on your own and start that business you've been dreaming of.

Is owning a small business rewarding?

In the same poll, these business owners find it easy to get along with people, have a clear focus and sense of purpose, and would rather learn from failure than never try.

The DNA of Small Business Owners

The DNA of Small Business Owners

Advice from one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our lifetime

Richard Branson started his first business at 16. He left school to start Student Magazine with a friend. "Today he is the probably the only entrepreneur with eight individual billion dollar corporations, two-hundred companies, in eight various industries — and he accomplished all of these without a business degree." Read the full article at Cleverisms.com

Here are Richard Branson's Top 10 Tips for Starting a Business:

  1. Think about what moves you.
  2. Begin at your doorstep.
  3. Shake things up.
  4. Define your brand.
  5. Listen to advice. Do not listen to naysayers.
  6. Stay focused and motivated.
  7. Love what you do.
  8. Challenge the status quo.
  9. Create value.
  10. Keep things simple when pitching.
  11. Be Visible.
  12. Explore uncharted territories.
  13. First impression matters, but so does the second.
  14. Pick a good name.
  15. You cannot obtain perfection.
  16. Avoid an "us" vs. "them" mentality.
  17. Create a corporate comfort zone.
  18. Get more than one opinion.
  19. Do not burn bridges.
  20. Talk to people over the phone.
  21. Do not fear change - manage it.
  22. When you make a mistake, don't fall down - bounce back.
  23. The customers are almost always right.
  24. Be a leader, not the boss.
  25. Take risks.
  26. Dream big.

What do you feel passionate about? What's holding you back from starting a business?