Preparing for Startup Success

The right education, experience can be vital to your longevity

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While it’s clear that amassing education and experience is helpful, there’s no right way to go about it. Here are some ways to increase your knowledge base and your odds of success:

Take general business classes. You don’t have to have an M.B.A. to launch a successful startup, but consider acquiring some knowledge of basic business concepts. “Any business owner needs to understand how to read an income statement, the difference between operating income and net income, and what a cash flow statement looks like,” says Erica McGeachy Crenshaw, president of Execute Now!, a business consulting firm in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

Consider joining a startup. Not only is experience in your industry valuable, but business owners with any type of previous startup experience are more likely to succeed, says Scott A. Shane, professor of economics at Case Western Reserve University, author of The Illusions of Entrepreneurship (Yale University Press; $26). If you know entrepreneurship is in your future and a startup opportunity comes along, consider it a test-run in the art of launching a business.

Find an entrepreneurial mentor. Draw upon the experience of others. Contact business owners in your industry who are not direct competitors to see whether any would be willing to take you under their wing. Don’t just look for business owners who are successful, says McGeachy Crenshaw. “A lot of business owners can easily list all the mistakes that they made. There’s a lot you can learn from them.”

  • Business, whether learned in practice or in a classroom, is something that everyone should be versed in. “The Currency of the Community”

  • Every successful person I have studied had a life coach; someone to push them and guide them. It’s the same in the world of business. If you want your business to boom, consult with someone or an organization that is well versed in business. My firm is the “Authority” on business coaching! We don’t just talk business; the principals of our firm are running many successful businesses today. So who better to consult than someone who are the best at what we do?

    • Henry A. Kenely

      Wow Hopefully you can be of some help to me. I am part of a group which we are in the infant stage of starting our business. I am really excited and maybe you have or can tell me of the book or books you had to read when first getting started.

  • Beulah Wright

    This was a timely article. I am in a start up class right now. I live in Michigan. The business is called Techtown. It has many organizations geared toward helping people get their business off the ground. It is a one stop shop idea. All of the items you mentioned have been taught to us. The class is a four week class, twice a week.

    • Carole Belcher

      Iam interested in this class. Can you give me more information please?

  • I 100% agree with everything in this article. I would also add that continuing education is extremely important to the success of your business. Being sure to stay ahead of the curve or at least current in your industry and the latest technology can be extremely valuable in helping you to differientiate yourself among your competitors. Continued learning helps you to continue to grow both personally and professionally.
    -Monica Upshaw (

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  • As a self-made entrepreneur, Id also like to add that one has to read motivational books and listen to audio tapes or audio books. They give you a keep on keeping on attitude especially as you start-up. Also, learn to differentiate between ADVISORS and MENTORS. Advisors are your soccer-fans that have opinions on how they think the game should be played or how the players should play. The mentors are the coaches who know and have produced success. Those you want to follow their advice. All the best and keep on keeping on