Published On: Tue, Mar 13th, 2018

6 things Business School will not teach you entrepreneurship

For MBAs, starting a business can become the scene of the accident, in which theory and education clash with facts and reality.

6 Things Business School Won't Teach You About Entrepreneurship

Business school will not teach you everything you need to know about how to start and run a successful business. I learned it the hard way.

While the business school taught me how to negotiate, effectively communicate and understand the basics of finance, economics and law, it was not until I started an activity that I realized that there were significant gaps in my knowledge.

The relationships and the network I built in the business school are worth more than the cost of tuition. However, I ended up learning a lot more about the business being an entrepreneur for four months than I was sitting in a conference room for four years.

Here’s what I learned from an entrepreneur that business school has not taught me and will not teach you how to build a successful business.

1. A company can be scrappy.
Starting a new business requires “understanding things while going”. While the business school will emphasize the importance of funding, hiring and downsizing, starting a business means making the most of the few resources available.

The reality is that the most successful companies today started very scrapposi and from scratch. They did not have a plan, they did not rent a space, and in some cases they did not stick to their original idea.

Your success will depend a lot on how much you can take off and how you can make the most of the resources and tools at your disposal right now. Even if this means launching with a minimum vital product to test the market before trying to get funding, staff or resources you think you need.

2. Plans are not the most important thing.
It’s counter-intuitive, but overplanning can kill your business, especially when you rotate and adjust based on how the customer uses, perceives and buys your product or service.

Business schools like to treat every new business idea as a massive business that can be completely planned. “Do you want to start a business? Create a business plan, determine the product market, calculate the balance, etc.”

The truth is that much of this will become clearer as you test and first bring your product or service to the market. It’s much more important to run your idea and get proof of the concept, instead of trying to plan every single aspect of your business to perfection. Excessive planning before execution is usually only procrastination.

3. How to set goals.
With so much emphasis on planning and strategic decision making, it’s a bit ironic how small business schools go to set goals and decode what you want.

So many entrepreneurs know what they want to do, but they do not really know how to do it. Setting goals makes it easier to determine the route because you can reverse engineer where you want to be.

The goals make you responsible, as well as aligning everyone on your team. The last thing you want as an entrepreneur is that your team has different motivations that contradict (or compete) with each other.

What is the only goal on which your whole team is focused? Prevent the impact for greater impact.

4. Marketing in the 21st century.
Many schools are finally starting to improve their marketing lessons to adapt to the digital age, but you’ll be surprised how far most marketing education is. To be honest, it’s because this information changes much faster than most business schools can keep up.

As an entrepreneur, it is your responsibility to stay up-to-date on current digital marketing trends as well as the tactics that work right now.

Many of the fundamental principles of marketing that business schools teach are still useful and relevant. However, it is crucial for your success to have a deep understanding of things like pay per click advertising, search engine optimization and email marketing, to name a few.

If you want to learn how to create a successful ad on Facebook, for example, you will not find the answer in a classroom. You will have to create one and modify it as you go.

5. How to be creative.
Entrepreneurs need to channel their creativity often, whether it is finding unique solutions to the problems of their customers or finding a great business idea.

Creativity is very difficult to teach, so it’s no wonder this is something missing in business schools. Business schools teach systems and rules. They show you the parameters you will work on as an entrepreneur and how to make the most of them.

Creativity consists in working outside these parameters, thinking outside the box. As an entrepreneur, sometimes the best solution is not the most obvious. Sometimes it requires an inspired solution.

When you think of some of the most famous cases of companies that are successful despite the odds, or the most well-received marketing campaigns, there is usually a lot of creativity, not a cookie cutter formula taught in a business school.

But this inspiration often comes from trying new things, making mistakes and learning from others. And that kind of experience is quickly traced when you’re an entrepreneur.

6. Taking risks.
Schools are designed to teach students not to fail. They teach students to be more risk-averse than risk-taking. They are designed to make students work within a set of rules. This is the antithesis of being an entrepreneur and managing a business.

Running a business means failing, a lot. Entrepreneurship is about risk. It means thinking outside the box and creating an unconventional path.

Failure should be seen as part of the learning process. Because students are discouraged from failing, they never see the value of failure as a way of learning. Therefore, B school students entering entrepreneurship can become more risk averse.

The problem with this, of course, is that entrepreneurs give themselves an excuse to surrender too early and avoid taking risks that could help their businesses take off.

Any roadblocks or challenges you encounter as a business owner should not be perceived as a stop sign. Instead, it could simply mean that you have to move forward in a different direction.

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