5 Things that Business School Hasn’t Taught Me

I would like to thank Ben for honoring me with a guest post. As a college student preparing to graduate from state land-grant university, I thought it would be beneficial to share what they aren’t teaching in the classroom today. I have learned more in my short time of real-world employment and entrepreneurial experience than I have in my years of schooling without a doubt. Here is my top five list of what business schools should be teaching:

1. The business world has no multiple choice sections

When taking a test, you’re often given a choice of answers. In the real world you have to make the answers yourself and then chose the best one. If a competitor starts changing their way of business and takes some of your market share, you have to think of the actions you need to respond with yourself instead of being presented with them and having to just pick one. What happens when your competitor starts a social media campaign that ends up taking 10% of your market share? There is no “right” answer, you just have to think of a few viable plans and start implementing them to see which one works to bring your market share back.

2. Read and Learn (but not from textbooks)

Textbooks are great at presenting theories to learn in a classroom environment, but to survive in the new business world you’re going to need to keep up with events much more current. The best way to do that is by reading industry related blogs and other related books to know the latest trends in your field. And keeping up with all these blogs is easy with RSS. A few good books I suggest is “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuck and “1,000 Dollars and an Idea” by Sam Wyly.

3. Get to know successful people.

Many of the top business people promote this as one of the top reasons for their success. Surrounding yourself with successful and intelligent people will not only make you think smarter, but you always have someone you can ask for help that you know will give reliable advice. Just be sure to overcome the five stumbling blocks to successful networking. If you’re serious about what you want to do, you have to have the guts to throw yourself out there and be vulnerable at first. Some people will try to knock you down but you have to hold strong and stand your ground. If you’re thinking about starting a business, get to know some other people who started businesses as well.

4. Marketing online is the easiest way to grow a business.

Everyone has a passion. By marketing to other people who share the same passion as you, you can build a great personal or business brand. With all these big companies such as Apple marketing to the world, many people think that they need a product and marketing plan that the world will love to make a good living from their passion. In reality though, the exact opposite is true. Because of globalization, it makes it easier for people to find you and your product than ever before through the use of social media and other digital media. Small businesses are starting to find that their growth is going to depend on if they use these new media outlets available to them or not.

5. Stop talking, start doing.

When I was starting a new company, I had many questions that I asked a friend who was in a semi-related industry about. The best advice that he gave me was simple: “Just do it and figure it out.” While it’s good to have a plan/idea of how to start your business, it’s never going to get going if you just keep talking about it.

The best advice I’d give any burgeoning entrepreneur is to go out and start your business NOW!