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I want to start my own business, what courses should I take?

I am currently enrolled as a pre-business major with a minor in psychology. I haven't been in school for a couple years and don't have any business experience. However, I know that I am interested in starting/having my own company. I know a lot of people do this without going to school for it. #business #entrepreneur #college

What kind of business are you looking to start? If you revise your question, I think you’ll get some advice that’s more specific to what you hope to do in the future :) Alexandra Carpenter

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John’s Answer

Olivia if you're thinking about starting a business, you likely already have an idea of what you want to sell, or at least the market you want to enter. Do a quick search for existing companies in your chosen industry. Learn what current brand leaders are doing and figure out how you can do it better. If you think your business can deliver something other companies don't (or deliver the same thing, only faster and cheaper), you've got a solid idea and are ready to create a business plan.

So much can be learned and extrapolated from just a few hours of Googling and surfing the Internet. “Do your homework” thoroughly and you’ll be so much better off. In fact, it’s a necessary first step to determine the viability of your business idea. It’s important to be honest with yourself. If it seems your idea has already been done, can you do it better or offer it cheaper than the competition? Ask yourself the hard questions and get feedback from associates and mentors. Better yet, test your idea with a simple landing page that describes your product or service. See if people will give you their email address to be notified when your product or service launches. Then, let the facts and numbers speak for themselves and don’t let emotions cloud the truth.

Once you have your idea in place, you need to ask yourself a few important questions: What is the purpose of your business? Who are you selling to? What are your end goals? How will you finance your startup costs? These questions can be answered in a well-written business plan. A lot of mistakes are made by new businesses rushing into things without pondering these aspects of the business. You need to find your target customer base. Who is going to buy your product or service? If you can't find evidence that there's a demand for your idea, then what would be the point?

Starting any business has a price, so you need to determine how you're going to cover those costs. Do you have the means to fund your startup, or will you need to borrow money? If you're planning to leave your current job to focus on your business, do you have money put away to support yourself until you make a profit? It is best to find out how much your startup costs will be. Many startups fail because they run out of money before turning a profit. It's never a bad idea to overestimate the amount of startup capital you need, as it can be a while before the business begins to bring in sustainable revenue.

Olivia when you're starting a business, you need to become an expert on your industry, products and services if you're not already. Joining related industry or professional associations before you start your business is a great idea. Don't wait until you've officially started your business to get clients or line-up customers, because your business can't survive without them. Do the networking. Make the contacts. Sell or even give away your products or services. You can't start marketing too soon.

Thank You Joe. “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr. John Frick

John, Wow! This was extremely helpful. Thank you so much for taking your time to write out a detailed response. Olivia Olivia L.

Your Welcome Olivia, it was my Pleasure. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. John Frick

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David’s Answer

Hi Olivia,

I also went to school wanting to stat my own business. I would suggest that you do not limit yourself, try to look at classes that will develop your business sense. There are many majors out these for Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship. However, it is really about getting set with business classes. I would suggest Business Management as a major. This will give you an overall business degree and there will probably be some classes you can take that would focus on owning your own business.

David, Thank you for the advice! I will plan on taking the courses you mentioned. Olivia Olivia L.

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David’s Answer

I love this! You're driven and inspirational.

People often say the most important skill of an entrepreneur is sales, you can't make money without figuring out how to sell your ideas, vision, and passion. Whether you have products or are working on a services business, sales and marketing are the foundational elements to getting the business going.

Next, it's important to understand the fundamentals of management, things like organizational behavior, and how to work with your potential employees. One of the most important things an entrepreneur can do is sell their vision to inspire others and get them to be excited about their work. Don't worry as much about things like accounting, finance, you can get the basic 101 classes on that.

Hands-on experience is the best way to cast a wide net and get an understanding of what an entrepreneur's day is like. Get a job, even if you're an intern volunteering one day a week, and shadow a local entrepreneur to understand what you can learn from them.

David recommends the following next steps:

Join entrepreneurship clubs and sales clubs
Go to toastmasters and learn how to speak effectively and communicate your message
Get a job as an intern for a local entrepreneur or small business owner

David, Thank you for the response! I will definitely do my best to follow your advice. Olivia Olivia L.

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Jayan’s Answer

You don't necessarily need to take specific classes or study a specific subject to become an entrepreneur, but you should have a good understanding of the industry that your business would be in (as well as a good understanding of your target market, for which your psychology minor could be very helpful). For example, if you want to start a health foods business, you should understand the industry's key drivers and what makes those types of companies successful. I would also recommend finding other people who are interested in advancing your idea, as they could be potential business partners or financial backers.