Do You Need a Degree to Start a Business?

Small businesses are the backbone of American enterprise. In fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration reports small businesses made up 99.9% of all businesses in 2020. Plus, the rate of people starting new businesses has been trending upward for 19 years.

Creating a thriving business takes time, hard work and dedication. There are limitless tools at your disposal to help you hone your business aptitude, develop your expertise, and build out your professional network. Many choose to pursue a college education to acquire these skills before pursuing their business venture. 

But is a college degree required to start your business? We have answers. Learn the pros and cons of starting a business without a degree, plus essential skills and resources to help you build a successful brand without going to business school.

Do you need a business degree to run your own business?

Do you need a business degree to start a business? The short answer is no, you don't need a business degree to launch your own business—and that's especially true for small businesses.

For many, college can be a cost-prohibitive expense. Plus, if you've uncovered a need no other product has filled, then there's no time like the present. That said, a college education can help you gain a theoretical understanding of key business concepts and provide a professional network you can tap into down the road.

What skills do you need to start a successful business?

As a small business owner, you'll wear many hats. In the beginning, you'll either be doing everything yourself or overseeing the work of others. Let's explore some of the most essential business skills every entrepreneur should have or develop. 


Effective marketing will help your business attract new customers, grow your social media audience, coordinate successful promotions, and more. There are plenty of resources, educational courses, and information available online to help you hone this crucial business skill.


Many industries are saturated with competition, so you might not be the only business fighting for the attention of your customers. Showcasing your unique selling points—or what your business does best—can help persuade your audience why your product is superior to the competition.

Customer service

It's cheaper to keep a current customer than it is to acquire a new one. Good customer service skills will keep customers coming back even if they have a bad first experience with your product.


Understanding accounting and finance will help inform big-picture financial decisions for your business like how much money you should spend on inventory, overhead, marketing, employees, and other essential business expenses.


Being adaptable is a crucial skill because it can help keep your business afloat during unplanned challenges like a pandemic. Keeping your finger on the pulse of current market trends, your customer's needs and the latest innovations will enable your business to thrive through good times and bad.


Strong communication skills are essential for any budding entrepreneur. You need to communicate clearly and concisely with your employees, clients, customers, and vendors to maintain strong relationships and relay your business needs and goals.

Time management

It pays to be productive. Learning good time management skills will enable you and your team to get more work done in a shorter period of time and save your business valuable resources and money

Free resources to level up your small business skills

Love it or hate it, rapidly evolving market trends, consumer habits, technological innovations, and digital tools influence the way we do business. That's why continuing education is essential to the health of your company. Online business courses and resources can help you develop new skills and expertise to keep your business ahead of the curve. Here are some of our favorite online communities and courses geared towards small business owners.

US Small Business Administration

You can access some of the best free resources for your small business through the US Small Business Administration (SBA) website with helpful tips, articles, studies, and even grant opportunities.

Social media

Social media isn't just a tool to grow your small business, it can also help you become a more savvy entrepreneur. Following specific industry hashtags on Instagram or connecting with other small business owners through Facebook groups to exchange advice, tips and insights are a great way to polish up your skills.


Need to brush up on your business skills or want to learn a completely new one? Thousands of business courses are available at Coursera consisting of video lectures and worksheets to help you go from novice to pro on your own time.

Business 2 Community

Business 2 Community focuses on news and current trends so you can stay up to date on everything small business.

The business skills you develop and the resources you tap into can help you succeed as an entrepreneur. Nothing is holding you back from success – not even a lack of a degree. Get out there and go after your dreams. We'll be here to help take your business to the next level when you're ready.

Ash Czarnota