One of the most important qualities for an business owner to have is an openness to learning new things. While you can learn a lot from the ups and downs of your small business or startup, further education (FE) is another way to help you upskill as an owner, without taking time out of your business pursuits.
FE is perfectly suited to business owners
From Bill Gates to Steve Jobs, many of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time are known college dropouts, choosing instead to pursue endeavours in the business world, learning as they go. Small business owners need to be risked takers, but smart enough to seek out support when they need it.
However, this might mean that you can avoid the education system once you run your own company. If so, you’re not making the most of your opportunities.
While enrolling full time in a Business Studies BSc is an option, if you have a business that requires your day to day input, or which can’t be put on hold for several months, you’ll need to look at adaptable learning options.
This is where FE comes into its own. Versatility is one of the cornerstones of the further education sector, with everything from night schools to part time and distance learning available. FE courses are versatile enough to fit in with any entrepreneurial business owner’s busy schedule.
SMBs can learn a range of, or single, skill with FE courses
Working small business owners can undertake qualifications in a wide range of subjects. Courses directly related to running a company include qualifications in brand identity, bookkeeping or communicating concisely and clearly.
On the other hand, it is just as advantageous for a small business to explore areas perhaps less obviously connected to their core roles as businesspeople in order to broaden their understanding of the marketplace, and of the world. Taking an FE course in graphic design, for example, could help you fine tune your instincts for what makes good design work, and help you work better with designers in the future.
Upskill in FE or return as an educator for extra income
While the FE sector can be very beneficial for business owners, helping you improve in your weaker areas, you can also turn it to your strengths by becoming an FE teacher.
If you have enough time to dedicate to it, taking on a job role in further education could be the perfect way to share the knowledge you have acquired already whilst supplementing your business spend.
Other ways to learn while running a business
As the widely diverse nature of entrepreneurial success stories shows, there is no one route to success in the business sphere. Some potential small business owners will be confident that the real world experience they gain from working their way up through a business, before launching one of their own, is more than enough to inform good decisions. You may feel the same way.
Alternatively, studying business or management at an FE level can also help equip you for life as an entrepreneur, though with current university tuition fees at the level they are, this option will require a far bigger financial investment.
Taking on an apprenticeship in business is yet another way to go, giving you firsthand experience of working in the business sector, and a potential path to employment at a big name company. You may also realise while taking one of these apprenticeships how much you have left to learn to make sure you’re small business is a success.
FE can help small business owners learn, and it gives them the chance to teach as a career, or to impart their knowledge part time while they pursue their business endeavours. Whether you choose to apply immediately or not, it will always be an option for you down the line.
As business owner and FE advocate Josh Cote recently told Journalism.co.uk, “it is important to never stop learning” in business. Engaging with further education is one way to make sure you never forget this.