What is Entrepreneurship?
Every business that exists was the brainchild of at least one person. There was a need that was not being met and this person or people found a way to meet that need. No matter the industry, there are people who can see the gaps in service or offerings and create ways to fill those needs. It takes a person with a special skill set and understanding of the market, the consumers in that market, and the ins and outs of producing products and services to make solutions happen. These people are commonly referred to as entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs are also business owners, but they are the most non-traditional business owners you will encounter. Most entrepreneurs are interested in filling something that is missing in a market or niche, be it by creating a business or modifying an existing business, and, once the job is over, they’re off to find the next problem that needs a solution. In other words, most entrepreneurs don’t have a desire to be a traditional business owner. Their strength is finding solutions to other people’s problems. For the most part they have no interest in running a regular business.
The state of Ohio is the home to many different industries such as finance, education, and manufacturing. These industries often require a person to come in and find solutions to problems the industry might not realize it has. So, if you are the kind of person who can find solutions to problems but really have no desire to work in a traditional business setting, becoming an entrepreneur could be the solution you’re looking for. Below there is information that delves a bit deeper into what an entrepreneur does, the education it requires, and the types of job a person with an entrepreneurial spirit might be able to tolerate.
Online Entrepreneurship Education in Ohio
Entrepreneurs are visionaries. They have an ability to study an industry and find holes in those industries’ offerings. They then take this information and create solutions that solve problems within the industry. Some entrepreneurs create the solutions themselves, while others create a team of experts to solve the problem. Many entrepreneurs are the financial backers for these processes - they might create a business to push their idea - while others approach an existing business and bring them on board to produce the solutions. The big difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur is that a business owner is concerned with all elements of a business, while an entrepreneur is more interested in the end result of the business.
Many entrepreneurs don’t have a formal education when they first start out, but getting a formal education is ideal because it will enhance your knowledge as well as add to your credibility. Below are the major levels of education you can pursue in entrepreneurship and the areas of study each academic level will cover.
Online Associate Degree in Entrepreneurship (AS)
As with most associate degrees, an associate degree in entrepreneurship take two years to complete. Some online community colleges opt to offer certificate programs instead, but only full degree programs provide credit hours that can later be applied to a certification or a higher-level degree, such as a bachelor’s.
The online programs consist of classes that help people who want to start businesses, so they tend to study practical concepts, including the following.
- Accounting / Bookkeeping
- Business Law
- Business Math
- Business Statistics
This degree will often be enough to get an entry-level position in many companies and is a good foundation for someone who wants to start their own business. But, if you want to work in management, more education is often required.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Entrepreneurship (BS)
At the four-year college level, entrepreneurship is included in the business department, which has its pros and cons. Although being an entrepreneur is obviously a business-related concept, it’s not just business majors who are entrepreneurs. Teachers, computer scientists, and even musicians can be entrepreneurs. That said, there are a lot of courses that revolve around the running of a business included in entrepreneur programs.
Along with the courses listed in the associate degree section, students will also take:
- Corporate Finance
- Quantitative Business Analysis
- Human Resource Management
- Business Ethics
- Managerial Accounting
- Cost Accounting
For those just starting out in their careers, this online degree could get them into a lower-level management position, especially if their have prior work experience. And for those who are already operating their own businesses, this degree adds credibility.
Online Master's Degree in Entrepreneurship (MS or MC)
Entrepreneurship is generally included as a specialization for a Master of Business Administration (MBA). If it is a standalone program, it includes most of the courses offered in an MBA program but may add on some special classes.
Some of the usual course taken in an MBA in entrepreneurship program include the following.
- Portfolio and Marketing Kit Creation and Presentation
- How to Find and Speak with Investors
- Creating Entrepreneurial Teams
- Relationship Building
- Business Grant and Plan Writing
- Idea Generation
A graduate degree takes from 18 months to three years to complete, depending on the program. With this degree, positions in upper management may become available, as do teaching opportunities at colleges and technical schools. And, as with any increase in education, it does give a business owner more credibility in the industry.
Online PhD Degree in Entrepreneurship (PhD)
A PhD is considered a terminal degree because it is the highest degree you can achieve in any industry. Doctorate degrees can take seven or more years to complete, depending on the program, and a detailed research paper focused on your industry (called a dissertation) is often required. A program for entrepreneurship is very detailed and customized for each person, so there isn’t a set curriculum, but all the courses included will cover business and entrepreneurship concepts in depth. These courses are meant to set the student up as a subject matter expert at the completion of the program. PhDs are also valuable to educators, as they are often sought after to take teaching and research positions at colleges and universities. For those who strive to be entrepreneurs, the doctorate sets them up as the expert and makes creating teams to fix problems and fill needs that much easier.
Become an Entrepreneur in Ohio
The traditional path of “find a niche/get an education in that niche/work in the niche/wash, rinse, repeat” cycle does actually apply to becoming an entrepreneur. However, the format is often a bit different. Although education is important to anyone who wants to become an expert in a field, so much of being an entrepreneur is fueled by natural curiosity and intuition that the education almost takes a backseat to other things.
Many of an entrepreneur’s skills may come naturally to them but a formal education can fill in the gaps that might exist. Most entrepreneurial education programs are in the business area, so getting a degree in business with a specialization in entrepreneurship is pretty common. But entrepreneurs can have degrees in a variety of fields. Much of the time, an entrepreneur’s education is in the field where they consult the most, but this isn’t a requirement. If they have the knowledge to understand the industry, they can usually identify its needs and operate accordingly.
Entrepreneurs generate ideas by studying an industry and comparing what the industry offers with what those who use the industry require. Once a need is identified, entrepreneurs quest to find a solution. In some cases, the entrepreneur creates the solution himself, while other times they will put together a team to solve the problem. Most entrepreneurs get started by creating solutions for their employers and then, after a few successful endeavors, strike out on their own. The end goal for an entrepreneur is to gain a reputation as an expert and solutions person. Once that reputation has been established, they may officially call themselves an entrepreneur. People will seek them out to help them solve issues with their business.
There is no set time frame for becoming an entrepreneur that is recognized and respected. Some get lucky and create something that changes an industry and automatically offers them credibility, while others might make smaller strides, offering products and services that aren’t industry-changing on their own, but collectively proves they are experts in the field.
Careers for Entrepreneurship Graduates
Entrepreneurs work in every industry. They operate where the need is, and many entrepreneurs don’t have a traditional “niche”; they are approached for solutions by people in different industries because it is recognized that they have vision. However, before becoming and entrepreneur, a person still has to eat and pay the bills, so below are some common careers a person might have before striking out on their own.
An entrepreneur might work as an appraiser to hone their valuation skills. Appraisers examine things using various tools and techniques to determine an item’s value. Appraisers work in art, entertainment, real estate, and banking, to name a few areas.
- Social Media Manager
Entrepreneurs may have a gift for gab, especially when it comes to their areas of expertise. Because of this, they can make excellent hype people and enthusiastic sellers. One area where they shine is on social media. They will relentlessly search for information that will make a business stand out from the rest and they can engage with customers and visitors, which ultimately drives sales.
- Investment and Acquisition
Successful entrepreneurs will often branch out into investment and acquisition positions. Once they have several successful business launches under their belt, entrepreneurs might choose to use some of their income or working capital to assist in funding other small business ventures. This could come in the form of angel investing or partial ownership of the business, or the entrepreneur might want to be involved in the launching of the business, either in a formal or advisory role. In acquisitions, entrepreneurs have a special way of knowing when an established business will enhance another existing business and will use their leverage and capital to make the pairing.
- Product/Product Development Manager
A product development manager oversees the creation of new products. This is one area where entrepreneurs shine. New products are created to solve a problem and fill a need, and this is right in an entrepreneur’s wheelhouse. Not only are they adept at identifying gaps in services and products, but they also have the skill set to create a team and produce the goods and services needed to fulfill the needs.
Other careers an entrepreneur might pursue include:
- Public Relations Manager
- Web Developer
- Marketing Manager
- Sales Manager
- Systems Analyst
- Management Analyst
- Business Owner
- Brand Manager
- Business Consultant
- Marketing/Research Analyst