Starting a business in the U.S. today doesn’t require much more than a strong will, a great idea and a little bit of startup money. And while there are dozens of stories of entrepreneurs who started from nothing — building prototypes in their garage and schlepping samples all over town only to become multi-millionaires due to their hard work and commitment, there are just as many stories of entrepreneurs who never got their businesses off the ground or didn’t see the success that they hoped for.
One of the major reasons that small businesses fail is that while their owners have great ideas and commitment, they do not have some of the vital skills required for managing a successful enterprise. Perhaps they lack the ability to properly manage the company’s finances or do not have an accurate understanding of business laws or supply chain management, and things go awry. Things that could have been easily supported thorough third parties, like logistics companies.
Ask anyone who has earned an MBA what the greatest benefit of their program was, and chances are they will tell that it’s the people they met and the network they built. When you’re studying for an advanced business degree, you meet people from all over who have a wide range of experience — and contacts of their own. From your classmates to your professors to guest speakers and internship supervisors, the people that you meet while studying for your degree could prove to be instrumental to your business’ success.
Low-Risk Testing Environment
When you want to try something new, an MBA degree program is the place to do it. Most MBA and entrepreneurship programs encourage students to develop a business idea over the course of their program, testing ideas and making adjustments as they go. During the course of the program, you have access to experts and feedback that you might not have in the real world, and if you make a mistake, you have assistance fixing it — and it doesn’t mean bankruptcy or harming your business. By the time you finish school, your business should be ready to flourish with most of the startup hiccups already taken care of without serious consequences.
Well-Rounded Management Experience
Again, anyone can start a business, but if you have experience in accounting, you’ll be focused on the numbers, whereas if you have experience in marketing, your focus will be on marketing. Successfully managing your own business requires being able to wear many hats and understanding all aspects from management to finance to marketing to legal issues. Earning an MBA gives you knowledge in all aspects of running a business, so you’re better prepared to see the big picture.
Better Funding Opportunities
When you’re seeking money for your business, whether a small business loan from your local bank or an investment from a venture capitalist, the funders want to know that they are working with someone who knows his stuff and will not squander the cash. The fact that you have an MBA adds an extra layer of assurance that you know what you’re doing, and you’ll have a better chance of getting the funds you need from outside sources.
Everyone makes mistakes. But when you’re a business owner, a small mistake could mean significant lost revenue, loss of reputation and other serious problems — up to and including the loss of your business. With an MBA degree, you learn to identify potential problem areas before they become serious issues so that you can take corrective action.
Earning an MBA is not a requirement for starting a business, but with all of the benefits that come with advanced education, it only makes sense to spend a few years studying how to run a business before you actually take the plunge. When you have the knowledge and skills gained from taking MBA courses, you’ll enter the business world confident and ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.
About the Author: From the time she was a little girl and had her first lemonade stand, Erica Jacobs knew she wanted to own a business. Today, she owns a successful chain of home accessory stores throughout the Northeast, and she credits much of her success to the fact that she developed her business plan while earning her MBA.