Business owners are lifelong students

Amway IBO working on his laptop from home with his family in the living room

While they come from different walks of life, diverse cultures and nearly every corner of the world, successful entrepreneurs share one trait: passion. It’s what gets them up each morning, makes their businesses hum and fuels their aspirations for more – money, flexibility, family time and personal growth.

They also share a need to have certain tools – think how-to guides, tips and simple ways to learn how to do things faster and more efficiently, all with the mentality of a leader – at their fingertips.

Amway Independent Business Owners (IBOs) are no different.

“The trend of individuals seeking to work independently and with greater flexibility is on the rise,” notes Suzie Fiore, director of training and education, Amway North America. “We know that being in business for yourself isn’t easy – it’s tough to start, grow and lead. We want to help in any way that we can. That’s why we’ve invested in the best education and training possible.”

Amway Education is built on entrepreneurial experience and expertise, and the curriculum was carefully designed to put the company’s IBOs on the pathway to success from day one. It not only reinforces Amway’s mantra that “you’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself,” but also goes, into areas of general business growth, such as reading body language, communicating across cultures, listening actively and more.

As more and more industrious individuals pursue building their own businesses, the demand for this type of education and support intensifies.

The case for education

Infographic displaying data from the 2016 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER)

AGER 2016 revealed a growing positivity toward entrepreneurship in the United States. See the breakdown of the report’s key findings in this infographic.

“Are entrepreneurs born or made?” The Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), an annual survey measuring the public pulse of the state of self-employment around the world, posed this question. In 2014, AGER surveyed 43,000 men and women across 38 countries, and a resounding 63 percent said they believed that entrepreneurship could be taught and learned. Millennials held the strongest beliefs, scoring five percent higher in the United States than the global average.

By elevating the critical role education plays in entrepreneurship, the study encourages government, academia and other public institutions to heed the demand for creating the opportunities and tools entrepreneurs need to start up and sustain their own businesses.

American respondents rated the most crucial aspects of entrepreneurship education as “leadership and management skills,” at 47 percent, and “basic business skills,” at 39 percent. Yet, of those surveyed, 61 percent said they felt they lacked access to entrepreneurship education.

Therein lies the catch-22: Business owners want to learn, but where can they go? And who can they turn to for valuable insights, based on real-life successes and setbacks.

“Amway is unique in that in our business, IBOs can and should turn to their uplines – the person who sponsored them into the business – for help,” said Fiore. “And that’s also why it was important to design Amway Education with IBOs from the very beginning. This laser-sharp focus on creating these courses for IBOs, with IBOs, is enabling the platform’s success.”

The rise of entrepreneurship

Amway’s global entrepreneurship report spanned 45 countries and 50,861 men and women, aged 14-99, when fielded in 2016 – its seventh year. Findings revealed that Americans hold an increasingly positive attitude towards entrepreneurship, at 84 percent, a striking seven percentage points above their international counterparts at 77 percent. The study correlates this continued optimism with age, gender and education levels.

“The 2016 report reaffirms the growing positivity we’ve seen toward entrepreneurship in the United States,” says Dr. David B. Audretsch, AGER partner, professor and director of the Institute for Development Strategies at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “At seven percentage points higher than the global average, it is clear that positive attitudes toward entrepreneurship in America show no signs of receding.”

Millennials aged 35 years and younger were the most enthused about starting their own businesses, yet confidence in one’s entrepreneurial capabilities peaked in respondents aged 35 to 49 years.

“Optimism toward entrepreneurship is gaining significant strength in the U.S. and is expected to continue in 2017,” affirms Jim Ayres, Managing Director, Amway North America. “This momentum isn’t surprising, as the U.S. is a hospitable environment for cultivating entrepreneurs. This year’s report mirrors what we see on a day-to-day basis as an increasing number of Americans are placing a higher value on entrepreneurship and expressing a stronger desire to own and operate their own businesses.”

Further, 40 percent of American respondents saw self-employment as more likely in five years than today, and a remarkable 66 percent felt comfortable searching for and acquiring customers – a critical element of self-employment. “Resoundingly, Americans not only have a strong desire to become entrepreneurs, but they also feel that they have the requisite capabilities and tenacity to realize their entrepreneurial goals,” adds Audretsch.

Education sharpens this focus on achievement. That’s why Amway has matched these increasingly positive attitudes with more and more learning tools that empower entrepreneurial success. By engaging business owners early and often, the company is enabling IBO success from the point of activation while fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

More to learn, more to earn

Whether they come up through universities or the school of life, all entrepreneurs are guided by a spirit of individual freedom through free enterprise. They relish their right to earn an income on their own terms, govern their own schedules and pursue a better life as they define it. Along the way, they cultivate the work ethic and resilience a successful, sustainable business demands.

Yet even the most sophisticated business owner can’t do it alone.

Success, like strength, comes in numbers. That’s why companies like Amway are ramping up their investment in entrepreneurship education. Amway arms IBOs with not just the best quality nutrition, beauty and home products, but also the best education and training to sell those products, sponsor others to do the same and, ultimately, build sustainable businesses that fuel their aspirations for themselves and their families.

Amway Education empowers IBOs to put their best foot forward as they begin the journey into entrepreneurship. From the moment of registration, business owners get full access to a library of print materials, complemented by an equally comprehensive online curriculum of more than 80 forward-thinking courses and activities.

“One of the best things about the Amway business is that everyone surrounding you is committed to you and your success,” notes Ayres. Amway Education courses are provided free of charge, to ensure that all IBOs are given the opportunity to learn at their own pace. “The new Amway Education deepens our commitment to our IBOs.”

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