It is often believed that in the world of entrepreneurship, there are many things no school can teach. But structured programs, whether at business school or at other institutes, can help entrepreneurs fill in gaps in skill sets, and teach formal skills in a range of disciplines such as finance. Many entrepreneurs say studying business formally has given them a head start, as well as access to superb alumni networks.
There are so many things entrepreneurs don’t feel confident about – like what sort of people they need to recruit, how should they scale up the venture and so they decide to go for a formal management education.
B-school is a place that can teach you anything you want to learn—hard skills, soft skills, or access to networks.
For instance, Finance is an important hard skill that many entrepreneurs haven’t studied formally. Managing cash becomes a key factor for survival for most businesses which are heavily cash-constrained during the early years. Surprisingly, cash management is not a skill that comes naturally to most of the entrepreneurs, therefore, studying finance formally does give one an accelerated growth curve and fills the gap in this skill set.
Another important thing that formal training teaches an entrepreneur is to pitch, talk and sell. Although, most of them learn this on the job but to get a head start a structures course is helpful. Creating good presentations, pitching your ideas and communicating them is something an entrepreneur is required to do at every stage. All these skills should be learnt formally.
Signing up for a negotiation class teaches you about yourself, your impact on other people, and how best to use that in negotiation. It’s a skill an entrepreneur uses at every point, and sometimes you can be born with it, but it is also something you can learn.
One can put together a better team and is better able to attract fresh graduates as well. Going to school before or after setting up and running a business helps you relearn the art of networking, and the skills needed for it. Besides, the alumni network that an institute gives you can be a vital starting point for business. It’s a chicken and egg situation otherwise—whenever you start, your first client will always want a successful reference before he signs on. What your alumni network gives you when you start up is a foot in the door, and the opportunity to be heard.