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What is Entrepreneurship?

An entrepreneur is an individual who develops a plan for a new business and builds it out of nothing. A small-business owner takes most of the risks and, if they succeed, they also experience the greater share of the rewards.

Common definitions for an entrepreneur include those who are the source of new ideas and those who develop new products, services, procedures, or businesses. In short, they are an innovator.

By using their skills and knowledge, they are able to spot needs in communities and industries. This leads them to develop new ideas that they can turn into a business, and then they see them through to fruition. Many entrepreneurs are believed to succeed out of pure gumption but, if they have earned a college degree in business or entrepreneurship, they may also be using what they learned in their classes and internships.

Entrepreneurs who have earned their business degrees through a university or college of business should have the knowledge they need to successfully start and manage their new businesses.

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Online Entrepreneurship Education in Montana

Looking at the top industries in Montana, future entrepreneurs may be able to see a niche where they can imagine starting and running their own businesses. Real estate, rental, and leasing is a big industry in the state and may be the right niche for you. This industry brought $7.1 billion in revenue into the state in a recent year. Other big industry options for these professionals include professional and business services ($3.9 billion); retail trade ($3.2 billion); wholesale trade ($2.7 billion); construction ($2.9 billion); arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services ($2.6 billion); and more.

Montana is well-known for its agriculture and livestock, and this is a vital area of revenue for the state, but it has also diversified its economy, increasing its annual revenue in many industries. The fastest-growing industries included healthcare and social assistance, food services, and real estate. Montana’s federal lands on the western side of the state also attract tourists who want to see and experience sights such as Glacier National Park.

Montana is able to claim that it has more entrepreneurs per capita than any of the other states in the US. It also holds a business survival rate within the top 10. “Business survival rate” refers to those businesses that stay in operation at least five years. Even better, approximately 3,400 Montana residents launch new businesses every month, and many are still in operation five years later.

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Montana needs its entrepreneurs. Any time that the state or federal economy experiences a downturn, small-business owners fill the gap in services and products. However, entrepreneurs here are more likely to stay small rather than attempting to expand or grow and the average size of small businesses in this state is three employees; around the rest of the nation, this average is six.

Online Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)

Future undergraduate students who want to open and operate their own small businesses should be able to do so after earning their associate degree in entrepreneurship. They may find an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Small Business Management, but you might be better served with a regular business degree offered as an Associate of Science or Arts if you think you may wish to complete a bachelor’s degree at a later time. In any of these degree programs, you can gain the skills you need to begin a business or your own or the qualifications to work in mid-management in either a retail or wholesale business. By doing so, you will gain experience and might find a niche where your specific talents are needed.

Students who are not able to take part in on-campus learning may be able to complete a degree of this kind via distance or online learning. If you plan to transfer credits to a four-year university, you should ensure that you choose courses and credits that will transfer. A school advisor will be able to help you with this.

Graduates should have the ability to communicate clearly and solid managerial and organizational skills. They should also understand the accounting cycle and general financial statements upon graduation.

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Online Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)

Students looking for bachelor's in entrepreneurship-focused degree programs at this level may choose a management and entrepreneurship degree, a general business degree with a minor or focus on entrepreneurship, or any other degree that will help them start their own business. You could even earn a computer science degree and complete a minor in business to give you the basics if you are looking to start your own software or video game company.

Students at this level may learn how to encourage teamwork, motivate employees, solve problems creatively, and manage conflict. Students can also benefit from a hands-on approach to learning; this includes leadership training so they are able to lead their employees and internships if you can find a program that offers them. Students learn by blending real-world applications and experiences with their book learning so that they can see how class topics would play out in actual organizations.

After graduating, students who are not ready to start their own businesses may work in hospitality management, human resource management, distribution and logistics, retail merchandising, and many other industries and roles.

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Online Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS)

Those who want to become an entrepreneur in Montana and already have some experience under their belts may be interested in earning a master’s degree in entrepreneurship to help them fill and skill gaps that they might have, or even just to increase their credibility once they strike out on their own. They can enroll in a Master of Science in Innovation and Management (MSIM), a general MBA, or an MBA with a focus on entrepreneurship.

These graduate programs are often open to students from all degree backgrounds, though it is usually best if students have graduated from either STEM or business programs. If you are worried about how long a program may take, you might want to search a little longer and find an accelerated program that can get you out of the classroom and into the field in the shortest time possible. Through degrees at this level, students will develop a better understanding of entrepreneurship, human resources, finance and capital raising, business law, recruiting, branding, product development, leadership, innovation, and professional development.

Students can often choose a distance learning or online learning option at this level.

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Online PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)

Montana students seeking an advanced degree with a focus on entrepreneurship may need to choose a PhD program from another state. While Montana universities do have doctoral programs, they are not in the business or entrepreneurship fields.

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Become an Entrepreneur in Montana

States have no requirements for business owners or start-ups to have licensure or certification except for businesses in industries that require workers to have certification such as salons, schools, counseling, etc. And, since entrepreneurs work for themselves, they are unlikely to be required by their employer to have certifications. However, that doesn’t mean that professional certifications are not useful to entrepreneurs.

Earning certifications can earn you credibility when you are trying to do business with another company or when you lobby for venture capital. It can also give you special insight if you run a business focused on software, logistics, or any other niche with available certifications. Whatever your focus, you might want to consider earning a certification or two within your industry so that you can increase your credibility that much more and increase your businesses chance of succeeding.

Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates

Not every entrepreneur immediately goes out and starts their own business. Working for someone else can help you build a network, learn the ins and outs of an industry, and more. Here are just some jobs that an entrepreneur might hold, though really you can do anything you want until you’re ready to start your own business.

  • Business Owner

    A small business owner holds a high level of responsibility. They may also handle many more tasks than other employees, small and large. In the early years of their business, they are likely to spend more time in the office than if they were to work for an employer.

    Additionally, as the owner of their own business, they switch hats often: finance and accounting, planning and strategy, marketing and sales, compliance and legal responsibilities, human resources and customer service - the owner has a hand in everything.

  • Public Relations Manager
    Public relations managers are responsible for the messages being communicated to the public about an organization. They develop a strategy for media relations, develop a marketing communication plan including goals and strategy, and coordinate all public relations activities.
  • Appraiser
    The role and responsibility of an appraiser is to determine what the current value of something is, whether that is land, a building, equipment, or another owned item. As these things must be noted on taxes or appraised before being sold or bought, an appraiser provides a vital service.
  • Web Developer
    A web developer designs and builds websites. They perfect the appearance and technical aspects of the site such as how much traffic the site is able to handle, the speed at which it works, and the ease of use for the customer or user. They may also create site content with specific technical features as requested by their client or employer.
  • Social Media Manager

    This media professional handles an organization’s interactions with the public through social media specifically. They create the organization’s social media content strategies, identify trends in customer interactions, analyze engagement data, and plan digital campaigns so they can build an online community.

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    A valued social media manager understands how to engage people, align their work with the brand’s goals, and use monitoring tools to develop insights. They should also be able to connect with the organization’s followers.

  • Marketing Manager
    A Marketing manager professional’s role is to promote businesses, products, brands, or services for their employer or a client. To do this, they create marketing and pricing strategies, develop new business leads, and supervise marketing staff. They are in charge of marketing budgets and they analyze new trends.
  • Management Analyst
    A management analyst may also be called a management consultant. In this role, the analyst looks in-depth into the running of an organization and, depending on what they find, guides management through the necessary changes to create higher profits and improve productivity.
  • Business Consultant
    A business consultant analyzes the practices of an organization, identifies any weaknesses, and recommends solutions. This professional may specialize in different areas such as engineering, human resources, marketing, finance, etc. or they may be able to consult on the company as a whole.
  • Marketing Research Analyst
    A marketing analyst reviews consumer data, looking for why consumers are drawn to one company over another. More successful businesses work with marketing analysts to look at business analytics, follow trends, find opportunities, and figure out what products people are looking for. They also identify who will buy products and can even pinpoint a price. With this information, organizations are better able to develop advertising opportunities, product promotions, and sales pitches for their customers.

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