You learn many critical skills in business school: self-discipline, strategic thinking, better time management and a broader worldview, amongst many others. Also, you learn useful academic theories and how to apply them to real-world problems. But, no matter how broad your curriculum and how great your professor, you cannot learn everything within the walls of a business school to be a successful entrepreneur. You have to learn many lessons on your own to successfully start and grow your business.
Following are seven important lessons that no business school will teach you, but you will figure out by yourself through the trial and error of entrepreneurship:
- How to become a great leader
According to Harvard Business Review, only 24 out of the 100 best performing CEOs have an MBA degree. Most conventional MBA programs offer specialized training in different functions of a business, but just having an MBA will not help you inculcate the quality to lead your organization from the front. Being responsive, reliable, charismatic and ready to empower teams are all essential qualities that make a person a true leader. And these qualities are best developed when you are running your business.
Related: Do Schools Kill Entrepreneurship?
- How to hire top talent
Hiring top talent is a challenging task. From attracting and engaging the right candidates to creating an efficient recruitment process, there are many aspects of hiring that can only be mastered through practice. No business school can teach you a ready-made formula to know who the right candidates are for your specific business, and who is going to remain loyal to your startup for the long haul. This is something you will learn while going through the motions of being an entrepreneur.
- How to set realistic goals
Business goals are guiding posts in your entrepreneurial journey. So, it is imperative that the ones you set are specific. However, when we get the initial spark of an idea, often we don’t know how to convert this idea into a reality, making it difficult to set realistic goals.
To set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART) goals, you need to have a thorough understanding of the market you are operating in. While a business school can teach you how to outline goals generically, it cannot teach you how to set specific, realistic goals. You need to do so yourself after conducting thorough market research and considering the current status of your business.
- How to market in the high-tech world
The success of any business often relies heavily upon its marketing (or lack thereof). Having said that, you should know and implement the best marketing strategies for your particular business.
This is not always an easy task, and the reason is rapidly changing technology. Yesterday’s marketing plans might not be applicable to today’s competitive startup landscape, and today’s plans may not be worthy in the future. This makes it difficult for business schools to teach marketing strategies that are certain to grow a business in the long term. As an entrepreneur, you are required to adapt and find proven ways to market your business in this ever-changing high-tech world.
- How to win in your communication
As an entrepreneur, you are going to communicate with your employees, vendors and customers/clients on a regular basis. However, there is no foolproof formula to win in communication. Understanding your audience, getting comfortable with yourself, being patient with miscommunication, and learning to listen actively are some habits that you need to practice in order to improve your communication. And while you might receive some pointers, a classroom is not the right place to practice these habits.
- How to fight and outgrow competitors
Regardless of your business domain and how original your product or service, you will face tough competition. You’ll have to learn through real world experience how to fight and outgrow competitors in your local market. This requires extensive research, and is specific to your business and its competition–it’s not information that comes from a book.
- How to handle real-life challenges
You will never know when your best performing employee is going to quit, when your highest performing product will face tough competition from a new arrival, when you will become entangled with legal trouble, or when you will face any other challenge that might jeopardize the growth of your business.
The life of an entrepreneur is full of wins and losses, success and failure. Being ready to meet unforeseen challenges is an essential part of being an entrepreneur. The only way through these challenges is knowing how to navigate through hurdles and remain focused. So, you must know how to handle the truly unexpected, when you’re truly in the trenches of entrepreneurship.
Needless to say, the above-mentioned lessons, which you will learn eventually in your entrepreneurial journey, are vital to your success and cannot be taught in a classroom.
Do you think there are any other important lessons that business schools don’t teach, but being an entrepreneur will? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section, below.