So you’re fresh out of a business school with stars in your eyes, and armed with all that textual knowledge you feel ready to take on the world. And why not? After all, that’s the trend, right? You attend the best B-school there is, ace your exams, and either land yourself the best job, or start your own venture!
While working for a company will require you to fit your skills into their already-established framework, starting your own business is a different ball game altogether. Not only will you be starting from scratch, but this would also be a golden opportunity for putting your learning into practice.
Almost all new entrepreneurs experience hiccups when they first start out.
Many a time, these issues are so pressing that you feel totally unprepared to deal with them and start wondering if your B-school really did equip you with everything you need to know about running a commercial institution.
Mentioned ahead are a few business lessons that no B-school can prepare you for.
1. You Have to Be Good at the Waiting Game
We’ve all read and loved stories about startups which tasted major success soon after being set up. But have you ever paused to wonder if these stories show you the entire picture?
There’s a high chance that your textbook left out a lot of details about the failures or struggles the founders of these businesses underwent before achieving their desired results.
Truth be told, there is no set formula or key to success. It’s all about how well you work with your resources in the economy you’re operating in. It will not come easily and will demand persistence, hard work, and sacrifice.
Remember, in the end it’s your business, it’s about how and what you will do, and not about how they did it. Focus on your game and stay invested in it.
2. Disagreements Are Not Always Bad
We’re often made to believe that disagreements lead to unrest and conflict and hence, should be avoided. While that is true, it is also true that disagreements are not always a bad thing. Sometimes they can be beneficial.
Disagreeing or having a difference of opinion does not imply that someone is wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and point of view, which deserve an audience. You never know when they will fuel creativity, and original, and out-of-the-box thinking.
3. It’s Not Just about What You Know
So you think absorbing all that textbook knowledge and topping your class would help you trump your competitors and bag that coveted project! Well, we’ve got news for you.
While it is great that you’ve assimilated so much already, running a business is not just about what you know, as much as it is about who you know.
Networking, making connections, or building relationships – whatever you want to call it, know that it is crucial. There is a reason why the Ivy League schools are a hotbed for the leaders of tomorrow.
4. The Company Culture Matters More Than You Think
Ask any seasoned entrepreneur and they will tell you that business is not just about making money or executing the big ideas. It is largely about the people who give you those ideas and help you rake in the moolah.
While every startup conjures up its own culture depending on the owner’s ideologies, it is also important that the people you hire fit into it and share the same vision as you with respect to your company. Only then will they bring you success.
5. Know How to Be Investable
Once your startup is up and running, there will come a time when you will want to expand it further. And for that you’re going to need capital, which is why you should keep pitching your ideas to investors.
Be real and don’t expect any quick response from them. Chances are you will not be taken seriously the first few times. No investor will want to part with their money unless your ideas have won them over. But remember, in the world of business a “no” is not permanent. Be persistent and keep trying to sell your vision.
6. Don’t Ignore the Power of Technology
We live in an age when continuous technological innovation is the norm and anyone who ignores it may be setting himself up for a difficult road ahead.
Whether it is the machines and equipment you use in your factory, or the time-management and invoicing software you use in your office, they all help you with streamlining processes, which is great. So make use of them and keep them updated.
7. Employees Are Important
Be selfish about this and work on building a talent pool from where you get only the best. You don’t need to be a genius to realize the kind of value high caliber employees will bring to the table.
Take care of your employees and in return they will take care of your business.
8. Don’t Blindly Hire the Smartest Kid on the Block
Recruitment and hiring can be tricky, frustrating, time-consuming, and if done erroneously, even costly. The trick to good hiring is to be able to gauge beyond what you see.
So when that candidate who graduated at the top of his class walks into your office for an interview, keep in mind that he may not be suitable for the job on offer. The questions to ponder over are:
- Does he have the drive?
- Is he hungry for success?
- Can he help you succeed?
9. Leave Your Ego at Home
Don’t let your ego stop you from making the first move in approaching people. You never know which opportunities you’d miss out on. Your textbooks probably didn’t tell you this, but irrespective of what stage your business is in, remember to be humble and stay close to earth as opposed to being haughty and egoistic.
Remember, you’re always going to need your partners, investors, stakeholders, employees, and other resources to keep your business on top. So treat everyone the way you expect to be treated.
Nobody said being an entrepreneur is easy. It is all about doing a few ordinary things in an extraordinary manner, which may be difficult but the results can be highly rewarding. It is always better to be mindful of the crucial aspects of business, and maybe even take cues from others’ mistakes, than learn the hard way. This post is an attempt to help you do just that. The world out there is huge and no textbook will teach you everything about it. But keeping an open mind and combining book-smart with street-smart will take you where you want to go.