This is another question from the entrepreneur.com ask the experts section, and another one that comes up a lot, so I want to post my answer here too.
Question: I’m 17 years old and my parents own a successful restaurant. I feel I need to be well-educated to take over the business, but I didn’t get the best grades in high school. Would a 2-year school prepare me better since I’m not looking to get a job after college? How do I prepare myself to take over my parents’ business?
You might be interested in seeing what I wrote recently — before I got your question — on this from the parents’ point of view. That’s 6 Tips for Involving Your Kids in Your Business on this blog. I’ve actually managed to build a business (Palo Alto Software) that absorbed several of my five children as I got older.
You’ll see there that I believe education is the priority when you’re young. You’ll get so much experience with time that you’ll be sick of it, but now is the time of your life when you have the luxury of getting education. Don’t think you won’t need it because you have a built in job, you will need it and want it that much more. Furthermore, never assume you know the future.
If you don’t have good enough grades to get into your favorite or most desired college, get into whichever college you can and apply yourself. Or do the two-year thing and get your grades up so you can transfer to a four-year college. You’ll never regret it.
By the way, as you get further into your education you’ll probably figure out what you like studying. Concentrate on that, and your grades will improve. And you’ll enjoy it instead of dreading it. Give yourself a break, keep an open mind on this, and keep trying before you give up.
Having an automatic job in a family business is going to work for you only if you do that job well, the company prospers, and you’re glad you’re there. It’s not a reason not to apply yourself in school.