In working with numerous entrepreneurs over the last decade, I have often heard one main theme: “I never went to business school.” To these entrepreneurs, they feel that their businesses are somehow at a disadvantage because they are not experts in business.
But why would they need to be experts in business? After all, business owners need to be experts in their specific industry.
Well, these entrepreneurs understand that their business does have a “business side,” which can result in HUGE returns - if properly managed.
And I couldn’t agree more.
This is exactly why I built this website; my goal is to use my background in business to help entrepreneurs with the business side of their businesses.
The good news is that I don’t believe that anyone is at a disadvantage for not having gone to business school. In fact, I feel that not going to business school can actually be an advantage for a business owner.
Yes. An advantage.
You see, I have gone to business school. Twice, actually. First for my bachelors and then for my MBA. And from this experience, I found that business school actually conditions you to work for someone else. Sure, there are business owners who have degrees, but I have found that some of the most successful entrepreneurs never went to business school.
Yet, many entrepreneurs feel that they are missing something.
As I help business owners manage the business side of their business, I have found that there are actually five things that they don’t teach you in business school which are essential to entrepreneurship.
The following are all things that are essential to the business side of business, but don’t need to be (and often won't be) learned from a business school.
1 - You Need to Know An Industry
The first thing they don’t teach you in business school about running a business is that you need to know an industry. Whether you are a painter, plumber, yoga instructor, restaurant owner, or serial entrepreneur, you need to first understand your trade. You can’t paint if you don’t know how to prep. You can’t plumb if you can't seal a pipe. You can’t teach yoga if you aren’t flexible. And you can’t run a successful restaurant if you don’t know how to cook.
Therefore, knowing your industry IS the most important thing you can do as a business owner. And my guess is that you do. That is probably why you started your business in the first place - because you were good at your trade.
2 - The “Business Side” Can be Outsourced
One of the biggest misconceptions I have seen entrepreneurs make is that they believe that they have to be the business experts for their business to be successful. Sure, the overall success of the “business side” of any business is the owner's responsibility. But like most things in life, this doesn’t mean that the business owner has to actually do these activities. They should know enough to be able to direct it and find competent help, but they don’t have to learn an entire second industry - the business industry.
Fortunately today, there are many different ways to outsource the “business side” of a business. This can be done through traditional outsourcing such as hiring an accountant to help manage your financials. But outsourcing can also be done by adopting a proven model for doing something. Just as some business owners purchase a business model when they buy a franchise, there are companies (like mine) that provide business models for the “business side” of a business.
3 - Having an Online Presence is ESSENTIAL (and not that difficult or expensive)
Frankly, I am amazed that internet marketing isn’t a required course for every business school. Sure, some classes talk about it on a high level, but few dive into the details on how to make internet marketing work for your business. The good news is that this is something easily learned outside of a business school.
Today, I would dare to say that the online presence of a business is probably more important than their signage on their store. Sure, you can’t go without proper signage, but signage is often now the second thing that new customers see: they first check out a business on its website. Therefore, first impressions are made by the online presence (or lack thereof) of a business.
4 - Sales Doesn’t Have to be Sleazy
One of my worst memories in business school was when I had to go in front of my entire class and try to “sell” someone a physical product. We had to pick a physical product we had, and we had to convince one of our classmates to purchase it from us. It was terrible as everyone pitching a product was doing everything they could to convince their classmate to help them out so they could get a good grate. It was absolutely pathetic and no one would have bought anything in real life. But, that was what the professor wanted.
Over the years, I’ve learned that sales is rarely like this. Sure, some guys are ruthless, but we all feel terrible after our interactions with them and many of us vow to never deal with them again. The reality is that sales can be a smooth, enjoyable process. When a product is properly designed, it will often sell itself. When a sales funnel is effectively tweeted, it will work on its own. And when a buyer’s journey is correctly designed, a prospect will easily evolve into a paying customer.
5 - SEO Isn’t That Difficult
The world would have you believe that search engine optimization takes a special set of skills, like a trained assassin, doctor, or rocket scientist. The truth is, however, that basic SEO is extremely simple and probably all that most small businesses need.
The best SEO strategy I ever heard was to start by getting 100 pieces of content - articles, videos, etc - on your website that are specific to what your business offers. This SEO strategy is called content marketing, and works extremely well. The idea behind content marketing is that the more content you have on your website regarding a specific topic, the more likely your website is to appear in the search engine results of a customer searching for the products and services you offer. Yes, SEO really can be that simple, which is great news for entrepreneurs who like to hustle.
After reading this, it is my hope that you feel a bit more confident about being able to master the business side of your business. The key, of course, it to make sure that you spend plenty of time working on your business and not just in your business.