I'm launching a business this fall and there is a lot to do, but I'm thinking about taking a quick business class as well. While I'm great at learning by doing, I do appreciate formal classroom education. Is it worth it to take the course? As a new entrepreneur and first time business owner, how do you learn?
There are a lot of great resources about running a business on trusted sites like Inc.com, the Small Business Administration, and countless (countless) other advisors and experts publishing their advice for free.
Additionally, udemy.com is PACKED with fantastic content available for $19 per course if you sign up on one of their deals.
Another source of information is to approach a business mentor, someone who has "been there, done that" and made all the mistakes along the way. I have a blog post that covers how to approach a mentor (LINK: ).
Running a business is often made more complicated than it actually is.
Find a need.
Talk to prospective customers.
Fill the need.
Rise & repeat.
I'm happy to help more, just reserve some time here on Clarity and we can get your well on your way to launching your first successful business. =)
This is a great question! So many newbie entrepreneurs jump into a business simply because they are good at building a product but don’t realize that business in itself is a science or art that needs to be understood.
That’s your key – understand what business is all about and in my opinion you already have a good start by asking.
My answer to you is that it depends.
You didn’t mention what type of business you are, but that hardly matters because in business you have to be a sales person – are you a natural social person? Are you capable of listening to feedback without preemptively making your own assumptions or judgments? If you are this could help you create a better product that will have early adopters, it could help you build a team easier than those who aren’t social.
if you are able to build a team and is feasible to get one – you should focus on getting people who compliment your own skillsets. Don't try to thin yourself out by trying to learn every aspect of a business operation when you can easily find someone else really good at that who can join your team.
Is like what I tell businesses – if is not in your core business, outsource it.
For an entrepreneur this remains true, if it doesn’t directly help you reach your goal, outsource it don’t spent time learning it when you can hire someone to do something while you do what you do best.
Consider also, what it is that you want to learn? How form the company? How to calculate cycle times from raw materials to final product packaging? Balancing a ledger? How to run a regression model? Or a financial analysis? All this you can hire someone when, if, you get to that point.
If you have a product or service in mind, simply promote it – make a few sales and that need to fulfill your commitments will lead you with what you need to get them done and deliver.
Leverage google, clarity and YouTube if you are too shy to simply send a local business owner in your field for some feedback or mentoring…
Also consider that the money and time you would spend in a class are valuable resources that should be going to building your business.
I hope that gives you a good idea of what approach to take, if you have any further questions just send me a message and if you are looking for a website done, a marketer or business coach, well also send me a message :)
in 2015 its not really worth paying for a business course - courses work on trying to teach you what you need to know
what you need to know is; "everything about business" - the person who created the course learned it all on their own - not from a course
Also the amount of information online via youtube and online sources means you have access to all the most successful entrepreneurs and business people in the world, and your thinking of paying a random to tell you what they know, chances are they just downloaded and resold a business course themselves.
My advice would be to either start your business (or if your idea is your passion and you dont want to risk your first attempt) maybe test out a smaller business idea - give it your all - and use what you learn on your big idea when you feel ready
Learn as you go - try things out - fail and learn why you failed.
My first business was a online eBay store - importing electronics from china - its very different to what i do today but it taught me so much about products, merchandising, eCommerce, customer relations, paypal, site building and advertising. I have used every single one of those skills in all my future business's - experience is gold and cant be put into a course - as business throws things at you every day and your past experiences will have you well equipped to deal with nearly all of them.
remember the famous quote Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
Hmm. I think you learn by doing. And from the get-go, you'll want to differentiate between working in the business and working on the business. Working in the business is hammering the nails. Working on the business is courting clients, developing your marketing strategy, and yes, beefing up your knowledge in different areas. That being said, I wouldn't recommend a "formal classroom education." I've never taken a business class, and after three months of trying to run my own business, I knew more than my friends who had graduated with degrees in business administration. Why is that? Well, you can take notes, read a textbook, memorize material, and get an A on a test. But much of what you learned won't be applicable to your business. It's like reading a book about how to swim or how to cast a fly rod. You get a perfect paper score, and then you go drown. And you can't catch dinner. Learn by doing. Your "score" will be repeat customers, making more money, referrals, and hopefully, the freedom you create for yourself by building a self-sustaining business. Show me a textbook about business that can show you how to use Periscope to position yourself as a thought leader. Show me the business textbook that will help you decide whether to use a WordPress plug-in, or Space-Box, or Gumroad, for your shopping cart, payment processing, and fulfillment. You get the point. Read fifty blog posts on any subject you're interested in, and you'll probably know more than your professor/instructor.
The vast majority of experts in business are busy building businesses (and maybe blogging about it) and not giving tests on the subject. I've taught at the university level, so that's I feel comfortable making that statement.
Do you want head knowledge or practical experience? You already know how to get both.
If you want to discuss further, call me! It would be fun to chat.
Austin L. Church
I've worked with many start up entrepreneurs and laying a good business foundation is so important. Looking at what you don't know and addressing that now will only help you to succeed.
Great question. I highly recommend using your local resources such as Small Business Development Center (a part of the SBA). Many of their classes are free or minimal cost and they offer free and confidential counseling. They can also connect you with retired executives that have been through starting, running and selling a business or two. They are good advisors. I also suggest you reach out to anyone you may know that is currently running a successful business for their help. There may be industry councils or groups in your area that are also a good source of information as well as economic development organizations through your county. There is a lot of free support available. I also recommend you look at your LInkedIn connections for who may be of help. Other types of classes are offered through Coursera, Open Sesame online. If I can be of further help please let me know.
You can focus on your business whiles you seek advice from a mentor who has vast experience in your area of interest or business field. Whiles you are gaining advice and support from this mentor you can later take on a business course if your business has started growing. Thank you
Why is it an Either/Or proposition? And does it have to be a formal class???
Running a business is an ongoing learning process. You should always be reading up, help from mentors, industry contacts and groups, and formal training if needs be.
This depends on exactly what your goals and timeline are in your business. You should ask yourself if the business class you are looking at will directly benefit what you are doing in your business short term. Since you are trying to launch a business, you'll likely have to put in a great deal of your time and energy to lift off, so taking a business class could create unnecessary stress, unless the class is directly related to helping you launch. I think your attention to personal/business development is so great! But during this crucial time, be very careful how you allocate your time and only give the most important activities priority. I've seen people spend years and years on "learning" only to never actually launch anything. Best of luck!