With the rising costs of college tuition, and the fact that you don’t have to have a degree to be an entrepreneur, do you really need to go to school? After all, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Walt Disney were all successful despite dropping out of college.
Heck. Tumblr founder David Karp dropped out of high school at 14, and he’s doing pretty well for himself.
The thing is, those are some of the more famous exceptions. In reality, college is still very useful for your future entrepreneurial efforts as well as helping you figure out what you want to be in the future. Most of the founders we all know met their co-founders in college and then started their impressive businesses.
Whether you’re attending college full time or just looking to pick up a course here or there, here are the classes to take if you want to become an entrepreneur.
1. Finance and accounting
As a business owner of a hosting company that has a lot of transactions, there are two responsibilities I have that I originally was not concerned with: balancing a budget and paying taxes. Both are equally important to your business and, if not handled properly, will potentially spell doom for your startup.
Taking a finance or accounting class will give you a basic understanding of what to do during tax season and how to manage cash flow. More specifically, a finance class will teach you about the time value of money, the tradeoff between risk and return, dividend policy decisions, security market efficiency, and the optimal capital structure.
An accounting class will help you understand the health of your business by revealing the company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity–which is done through a balance sheet. Furthermore, you can learn concepts involving cash flow and inventory, both of which will influence the success of your business.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll be heavily involved with marketing. Whether it’s selling your idea or product to investors or customers, a background in this area is extremely beneficial. With a marketing class, you’ll gain insights by conducting research into how to develop products that people want or need. You’ll also learn how to develop a marketing campaign and how to engage your audience.
After taking a marketing class, you’ll know that it’s more important to find your market first, instead of wasting valuable resources in creating a product that no wants to support.
Another business-related class that you should be taking is economics. An economics class will give you a basic understanding of production, distribution, and consumption of goods or services. Economics will also inform you on government policies affecting your business and how you can function in the global market. Also, you’ll learn the difference between microeconomics and macroeconomics.
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