August 13, 2013 09:00 ET

Half of Small Business Owners Say Experience Trumps Education

Manta Q2 SMB Wellness Index Evaluates Value of Higher Education

COLUMBUS, OH--(Marketwired - Aug 13, 2013) - In a few short weeks, college students will be heading back to school, but with the ongoing debate over student loan rates and the rising cost of tuition, the value of a bachelor's degree is under new scrutiny. While major companies like Google are relying less on college transcripts and choosing to look for candidates with real-world experience, small business owners have already adopted this hiring strategy. In fact, according to Manta's new survey of nearly 1,000 small business owners, half say they employ staff without a college degree, and more than 60 percent notice no difference in performance among staff with varying education levels.

"I've learned that you can't teach someone how to work hard," said Gary Wheeler, owner of The Virtual HR Director, LLC, a company that provides HR services for small business owners and non-profit organizations. "While I value higher education, I know it's only part of what makes someone a strong addition to my team. I focus on hiring people that understand my vision for the company, have the desire to be challenged and the experience and drive to contribute to its overall success."

That said, small business owners themselves are an educated group. Nearly 70 percent of those polled have a bachelor's degree and more than six in 10 felt a college education was important to their business success. Beyond education, small business owners say a strong business plan is critical to setting their company on the right course. More than one-third rank the business plan as the number one consideration when starting a business -- above capital, networking and mentorship.

"From developing a business plan to understanding how to identify the right employees that will contribute to their success, small business owners have limited resources to help them lay the foundation that sets their company on the right path," said Kristy Campbell, Director of Marketing at Manta. "That's why Manta is such a powerful platform -- it connects small business owners with a group of their peers so they can collaborate and learn from the collective expertise of the larger community."

As part of the study, Manta released its quarterly findings of small business activity. Manta's study shows small businesses are still slow to hire, but their outlook is improving. Nearly one in four added staff in Q2 -- an increase of five percent over Q1. And it looks like that trend will continue -- 28 percent say they will hire in Q3. Overall, more than half of small business owners say the second quarter was successful for their business, consistent with last quarter's findings.

For more on the Manta 2013 Q2 SMB Wellness Index, please contact manta (at) highwirepr (dot) com. To access the full survey results, go to

About the Manta SMB Wellness Index
Manta polled 978 small business owners, who are members of and have claimed their Manta business profile, via an online Survey Monkey survey between July 10 and July 15 2013. The margin of error is +/-2.98 percentage points.

About Manta
Manta helps small businesses profit, connect and grow through the largest online community dedicated entirely to small business. Millions of people come to Manta each day to buy from, partner with and connect to companies. By joining Manta, small businesses easily harness the power of the Internet. Get visible; grow your business for free at