18/04/11

By Francesca James

“Is College Necessary for Entrepreneurs?” While there are certainly a wide array of arguments for both sides, it’s a fact that qualification from a higher education establishment does not guarantee success.

There are countless successful, high and low profile business owners and entrepreneurs who have proved that a university degree isn't necessary in order to make millions. Essex-born multimillionaire entrepreneur Simon Dolan is certainly an example and champion for the school of life over uni.

With all the news headlines about the emerging spirit of young entrepreneurship in the UK, tuition fee increases, graduate unemployment stats, the record amount of out-of-work youngsters and the true value of university, Simon, and his new publication, How To Make Millions Without A Degree, offer an insightful perspective amid an ongoing debate.

Simon’s business success is reflective of his decision to challenge the idea that a degree makes you more employable, and he has some sage and practical advice.

1) Develop an ability in sales – everything in business, and indeed life, comes from sales. In an interview, you have to sell yourself, and furthermore, the interviewer also has to sell the business to you. Sales enhances your numeracy and broadens your confidence…

2) Avoid the big wide gate, look for the chink. Avoid overly saturated markets and concentrate on the niche and unoriginal which always more often than not, EFFECTIVE.

3) Duplicate - It’s the realisation that when you sell your time, which ultimately any person that starts out in business does, that there’s a limit to how much you can earn. The limit being the hours in the day. If all of a sudden there were 2 of you, you could earn twice as much. If it there were 200 of you, you could earn 200 times as much, and so on. Short of rapid advancement in genetic engineering, the only way to duplicate yourself is to hire staff.

4) Your business plan – this should be 5 words long: “Get and keep more customers!”. Without customers you haven’t got a business, and by customers, I mean people who spend money.

5) Know when to quit – if you’ve tried everything and it’s not getting any better, cut your losses and move on.

6) Self-belief is an entrepreneur’s most precious commodity.

7) Give yourself time.

8) Start engineering your business so that it can be replicated…and run by individuals who follow the system

9) Don’t spend money on advertising. All you need to do is create a web page

10) By learning some techniques and by practicing and improving over time, you can be 100 per cent, 200 per cent or even 300 per cent better than you are now.

11) Never, ever spend a penny more than you need to. And you don’t need a PA, receptionist, junior, nice furniture, an office, a company car or a photocopier – get the picture?

12) Realise that you have to sell. Yes, you will have to pick up the phone and ask for business, If you can’t do this, don’t start a business.

13) Think about how you can delegate responsibility and duplicate yourself. If you are only selling your time and no one else’s there is a real and quick limit to how much you can earn (you need to sleep sometime)

14) Realise that the only purpose your business has is to make money. Save the World once you’ve made some, in the meantime, leave “social enterprises” to charities and governments.

15) Read everything you can about people who have started businesses from nothing – preferably biographies and autobiographies – everything you need to know is contained within those pages

Many think the only way to achieve success is through education but Simon is adamant that it's certainly not the only option.

Some of today's most successful people don't have a piece of paper to prove their 'intelligence', however, even though they are lacking the certificate, they have an abundance of tenacity, determination and business acumen.