What they didn’t teach you about entrepreneurship in business school
The Way It Is-1

What they didn’t teach you about entrepreneurship in business school

The Way It Is-1

Being a business major will teach you about the finer workings of a business and familiarize you with accounting, marketing, and management; but there are some valuable entrepreneurial lessons you will have to learn by taking entrepreneurship courses or through experience. While having a great idea is an important start, there are a number of crucial requirements for starting a business that are simply not discussed in business classes. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs will have to learn these lessons the hard way through experience starting a company. It’s always best to learn from the misfortunes of others so as to not unnecessarily repeat the same problems yourself. And, for this reason Huritt Global Business School for Entrepreneurship initiated “Meet the Entrepreneurs” – a roundtable conference meeting, where practicing entrepreneurs share their entrepreneurial journeys. Here are the lessons you learn in the conference room, not the classroom:

How to Sell

Business school marketing course teaches you how to advertise and position your product in a way that is attractive to customers, but nothing in school teaches you how to actually sell. Research doesn’t hurt, but the only way to actually master this art form is through hands-on experience that must be gained outside the classroom. Selling is the key to your business; but in addition to providing revenue, it also provides insights into what others think about your products. The best way to learn how to properly sell is to get firsthand experience through internships and other opportunities that will allow you to continually develop this critical skill before starting a company.

How to Work with Non-Business People

In business school, you probably had friends in different majors, but how often did you work or do projects with them? Hardly ever, because most of the business classes and group projects are only with business students. Now, this is great for building business skills, but as an entrepreneur you have to be able to work with a wide variety of people in order to build a successful company. So it’s important that you find ways to work with students and people pursuing other degrees, with other interests, and from different backgrounds. Whether you dive into this by playing a sport, being part of a club, or volunteering doesn’t matter. What matters is being able to effectively communicate with people who have different agendas. When starting a company, you’ll have to speak with all kinds of people from designers to product manufacturers, so learning how to work with others will greatly improve your chances of success.

How to Fail

Throughout your entire education you are taught that failing is bad and that you should only be focused on getting “As” in all of your classes. While this makes sense in school, it doesn’t apply to the real world or to entrepreneurship. By no means, no one is encouraging you to purposely fail, but if you are going to fail (which most entrepreneurs do at some point) then you need to learn how to do it the right way. It’s also important to understand that one failure isn’t the end of your entrepreneurial path. Most entrepreneurs have learned far more from their business failures than they have from their successes, because failing forces you to evaluate what went wrong, and to find ways to prevent it from happening again. It is not always easy to be critical of yourself after a failure, but if done correctly it will allow you to grow immensely.

How to Negotiate

Negotiation skills are crucial to all aspects of business, whether it is selling, fundraising, or any other contracts. No class really teaches students the proper way to go about this. Your management professor may explain the basics of negotiation, but it is unlikely that you will get any real experience negotiating while in school. Therefore, it is important to talk to mentors and learn outside of school before you make your own negotiations. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of or to offend anyone. Of course, this is a skill that will naturally be perfected over time, but having as much experience as you can before negotiating your first deal will save you from giving away too much value.

How to Hire

Hiring is one of the most important things you do as an entrepreneur because finding other people who share your vision will help your business expand rapidly. There are no classes for this in business school because management just focuses on how to handle employees once they have hired them. Therefore, recruiting and hiring employees is similar to learning the “how tos” of sales in that you have to find alternative ways to master this skill. If you think about it, it’s also similar to sales in that you’ll have to pitch your business to someone and get them to like it enough to invest their time and energy into it.

Though your business education might be great, some of the crucial lessons an entrepreneur must learn cannot be taught in the classroom. To be successful you must develop these skills in alternative ways so that when you go to start your business they are second nature to you. Though, it does take extra time and effort, honing these skills will absolutely pay off in the long run.

As far as gaining more experience, try to read as many books and articles about entrepreneurship as you can. Additionally, try to schedule as many meetings as you can with entrepreneurs, because they all have a different story. You will learn a lot from their experiences that will help you.

Entrepreneurship book: The Way It Is—Ideas and Solutions for Entrepreneurs: For Startups and Growth Companies is a good read. You can buy from www.thewayitis-thebook.com

Also, register to attend HGBSE’s “Meet the Entrepreneurs” roundtable conference meetings.