Entrepreneurs have the ability to take a business idea, a bit of capital, a solid work plan, and with their fingers crossed, venture into the world to turn their business from an idea to a product or service that generates revenue.

According to Forbes magazine, about 543,000 new businesses start up each month across the country, and of those, about 70 percent will survive at least two years.

New entrepreneurs should look for any edge they can find to help their businesses succeed.

Earning a Master of Business Administration, or MBA, can help prepare small-business owners for the professional decisions they will face as the administrator of their company.

Marketing, finance, administration, economics, and accounting are just a few of the areas self-employed business owners have to manage, and where a business degree can make a significant difference. Alternatively, many businesses hire employees from outside their firms to provide those services – which can come at a significant expense.

Master of Business Administration

A few reasons a small-business owner should consider a business degree include:

* It’s a slow learning process: There are many factors involved in running a business, and the learning curve can be time-consuming and potentially result in expensive mistakes. Taking courses focused on critical elements like finance, accounting, and management  removes much of the on-the-job learning and allows a business owner to focus on growing the company.

* An understanding of business logistics: An entrepreneur knows her product inside and out. But she might need background in understanding the logistics of running a business, which can help her determine the big picture of what she wants – and needs - to accomplish her objectives. For example, she may discover in a marketing class that while customers may love her product or service, additional marketing on a local level is necessary to boost the word-of-mouth advertising that will help her company grow.

* Growing a network for advice and funding: Money and good ideas help businesses become profitable, and a business degree from Ashford University provides students with a network of professionals and peers who can be used to secure investments and problem-solving advice when needed.

* Broadening a prospective: A business degree provides students with a variety of viewpoints on challenges and issues faced by small companies. These perspectives can help a small-business owner determine and plan a process for overcoming any of those concerns, helping to make his or her business stronger.

Forbes™ School of Business at Ashford University

The Forbes™ School of Business at Ashford University provides students with degree options ranging from accounting to business information systems. The skills gleaned through business school give small-business owners the edge needed to potentially help their new businesses succeed and grow. For example, a business owner can learn how to handle payroll, company taxes, and business invoicing with Ashford University’s Bachelor of Arts in Finance degree, instead of having to pay to outsource these services. Or if a small business has several employees, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Leadership degree can help a small-business owner encourage his or her employees to perform at their peak, boosting business growth and profits.

Ashford’s MBA degree takes these skills one step further. Students focus their degree with a specialization, which is important if their business caters to a specific industry or offers a specialized service. For example, a specialization in Health Care Administration would benefit a small business working on developing programs that health care companies could use to store patient information or handle billing. Specializations help MBA students become experts in that field. Ashford University currently offers 14 specializations, making this degree extremely valuable.

Small-business owners and entrepreneurs will need to carefully balance the time commitment and costs of earning a business degree or an MBA with the skills and professional opportunities gleaned. They’ll also need to determine their goals, both professionally and for their business. They’ll need to ask themselves whether a business degree can help speed up the process of reaching those goals or will give them the skills needed for accomplishing their objectives.

Starting a business isn’t easy. Of the 70 percent of new employer firms that are still running after two years, only half are still in business after five years, and a third after 10 years, according to Forbes magazine. With a business degree from Ashford University, small-business owners can use their knowledge and resources to address common challenges like competition, a downshift in the economy, or even a change in distribution services. There are so many factors involved in keeping a company afloat, but entrepreneurs shouldn’t let a lack of skills or business knowledge result in their company’s failure.

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