Anybody can start their own business with a great idea and a healthy amount of determination and drive to make it work. However, if you are a business owner, you might have noticed that you have some gaps in your knowledge if you do not have any business-related qualifications.
This can make it harder for you to make the right decisions at times and it might even slow your success down if you need to spend some time researching and learning new things before you can go ahead with a new process or strategy for your company.
Because of the high competition among businesses today, it’s no surprise that many small business owners consider going to university to earn a degree in business, or getting other business-related qualifications.
Online learning has made it easier than ever to find a course that suits you that you can fit around your business responsibilities and other commitments. So, what can you do to make sure that everything runs smoothly if you’ve decided to commit to getting a business degree while running your own company at the same time?
1. Invest in a Good Laptop
If you thought that you used your laptop a lot while running your business, then you are going to rely on it even more if you are getting an online degree or another business qualification at the same time. While ideally, you might like to get one laptop for business use and another that you can use for your education, this might not always be possible if you are on a budget.
So, look for a laptop that is very durable and can withstand a lot of heavy use; the last thing that you want is for it to break down on you a year into your degree because you’re using it a lot every day. These Lenovo laptops for school are a great choice for students at all levels, or you may want to consider a laptop that is designed for business use.
For a business degree, you don’t usually need to perform any power-heavy tasks. But you may want a laptop with a more powerful processor or a higher amount of RAM if you’re combining your business degree with subjects like photo or video editing, software development, or something else that uses a lot of computing power.
2. Make Sure You’re Ready for It
Many online degree courses such as those that are offered by the Open University in the UK don’t require you to have any previous qualifications. However, this is not the case for many universities, where there are entry requirements that you will need to meet before you will be accepted as a student.
Along with this, just because you don’t need to have any previous qualifications to start a certain degree course, this doesn’t always mean that it is a good idea. Starting a degree course that you are not prepared for in terms of previous education can make the whole thing much harder to get through.
Before applying, consider the qualifications that you have already gained and think about whether it would be a wise idea to get some preparatory qualifications under your belt before starting a degree.
3. Plan Your Finances
Depending on your situation, there are several options available when it comes to paying for your online business degree. Most online universities in the UK will accept student loan payments, which are paid to the university directly by Student Finance England, Wales or Scotland depending on where you are located.
You will be eligible for a student finance loan if you are getting a degree for the first time and the course meets certain criteria such as the number of hours you are studying per week. You can get student finance loans for both full-time and part-time study.
If you have studied for a degree in the past with funding from a student loan, then you may not always be eligible for another one. This may depend on the course that you are taking. Master’s degree programs have another type of student loan known as a postgraduate loan, which you may be eligible for if you are getting a master’s degree for the first time.
If you are not eligible for any student finance, then you will need to figure out another way of funding your degree.
Check with the university to find out more about any alternative options that they might offer such as university loans that you can pay back while you study. It may also be worth looking into the grants, scholarships or other types of financial support that you can apply for to reduce the total cost of your degree over time.
4. Choose the Right Degree Course
Online education is booming, so these days it’s easier than ever to find a course that is suitable for you. You may want to study business alone or combine it with another relevant subject that might be helpful for you while running your own business like marketing, graphic design, software development, or management.
Business is a versatile subject that often pairs well with lots of other areas, so do your research and shop around for a course that is going to meet your needs and help you learn everything that you have set out to.
Research the courses that you like to figure out which is going to not only suit you in terms of your educational goals but also when it comes to the flexibility that they offer. As a business owner, the more adaptable you can be, the better, so the best option for you is likely going to be a completely flexible course where you have full control over when you log on to access learning materials and get some studying done.
5. Plan Your Schedule Ahead of Time
While the ability to be fully flexible with your degree and fit it around your life and commitments can be a huge benefit of studying online, the one downfall is that it leaves a lot of room for procrastination.
When you do not have to be at a certain class for a certain time, then it’s easy to keep putting it off until you realise that there’s not a lot of time left before the assignment deadline, and you have to rush. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to sit down well in advance and plan out your schedule.
Think about any spare time you have and any time that you can free up to focus on studying instead. This could be early in the mornings, during your lunch hour, in the evenings, or on the weekends, depending on what you prefer.
Putting a schedule together gives you a plan to work with and can also help you ensure that you are taking enough breaks so you can successfully avoid becoming exhausted and burned out, since there’s a huge risk of this happening if you’re not careful.
6. Delegate as Many Business Tasks as Possible
With good delegation skills, you might not have to spend a lot of time at your business while you are getting your degree. If you find somebody who you can trust to manage your business, then you might only have to drop in and out occasionally to see how things are going. There is no need to be a completely hands-on business owner and do everything yourself while you are studying.
Delegating as many tasks as possible to trusted employees, or finding freelancers who you can pay per job, will help you free up your time and avoid a situation where you are taking on too much and risking getting burned out from it all.
7. Create a Study Space at Home
Studying online from home has a lot of benefits, but it can also get quite distracting if you don’t have somewhere to go outside of the main areas of your house to get some work done. While you can take advantage of public spaces like co-working areas or libraries to study, nothing beats having somewhere quiet set up in your home to go and revise for exams or write your assignments.
A spare bedroom is a good option, or you might want to consider using a conservatory, basement, or even a summer house as your study room.
If you run your business from home, then your home office can double up as a study room at the end of the working day. Ultimately, where your study area is located doesn’t really matter as long as it’s quiet and free from as many distractions as possible so that you can get more done.
Running a business is unique in that you don’t need to hold a single qualification to start your own company. However, business owners often decide to get some formal education in business to help them with making better decisions and getting a better understanding of the processes that they work with on a daily basis.
It can help to speed up your success as you won’t need to spend as much time learning and figuring out new things when you have this solid educational foundation.