What is an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs are the business dreamers. They see a gap somewhere and they dream up a way to use their resources to build a business to fill that gap. The US Small Business Administration explains that an entrepreneur is someone who takes risks, makes tough decisions, persuades others, is able to negotiate everything, finds creative solutions, and builds a support system for their new business venture. Entrepreneur.com simply states that an entrepreneur is the starter and the driver. They are the creative dreamers that take on the risk and push boundaries to push our world further and further. Many entrepreneurs fail, but some make it big. Some famous entrepreneurs that come to mind are Blake Mycoskie, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mary Kay. These entrepreneurs are some of the business dreamers and business leaders who have forever changed our business climate.
What if you see entrepreneurship in your future, or if find yourself in the middle of starting a new venture? Do you feel confident in your skills to build it to fruition?
An online MBA could be a valuable investment in that future.
What can an MBA offer to an entrepreneur?
Most entrepreneurs, work without pay from their new venture for a while. Whether it is just you or a small team of people, you will have to greatly capitalize on your strengths that you already possess, as well as add on tasks that you wouldn't normally do. You will most likely have to stretch yourself and possibly work outside your comfort zone. The long list of start up tasks include: setting up a website and e-business platform, writing your business plan, defining financial projections, conducting market research, writing tag lines and marketing copy, developing a marketing plan, and the list goes on and on.
As many successful entrepreneurs can attest, you do not have to have an MBA under your belt to become successful. But if you are not confident in your business skills, then an MBA can be helpful. An MBA degree covers foundational business topics such as finance, accounting, leadership, marketing, decision-making, organizational management, and statistics. This degree can offer business tools, allow time for research and experience, and strengthen your business skills to help build your business.
The value of an Online MBA?
The obvious first advantage of an online MBA is time flexibility. Students are able to fit in their studies when it is advantageous within their schedule. They can schedule their studies around their current responsibilities and not the other way around. This makes it very convenient for the doer-of-all-things-entrepreneur. But the advantages don't end there. Some speculate that online MBA students could see more of an impact in their profession than traditional students. Dr. Wayne Bedford, dean of the College of Business at The University of West Alabama states that, "Students typically gain more from an educational experience when they have the chance to apply theory to a real-life setting." These online students can immediately apply and reapply their new skills in their daily lives. They get to see it in the real world. Thus, firmly imbedding their new knowledge and skills into their professional tool belt and making a greater impact in their work place.
Each online MBA program will provide the core basic business courses that can benefit every professional. But on top of those core classes, some programs offer specialized courses for the entrepreneur. To name a few:
- The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler's Business School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina offers an Online MBA in Entrepreneurship
- Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business in Boston, Massachusetts offers an MBA with a Innovation Entrepreneurship concentration
- Syracuse University's Martin J. Whitman School of Management in Syracuse, New York offers an MBA with a specialization in Entrepreneurship
What to do next?
Do you feel confident in starting a small business from scratch?
It's time to take inventory. List out your strengths? List your weaknesses? Now compare that list with your business plan. What are some of the key gaps that you see?
It is unrealistic to think that everything will be on your strengths list. So, do you have people on your team or in your life that can fill in those gaps? Which weakness items do you need to work on? If you could use some instruction in core business skills and tools to help bridge the gap for some of your weaknesses, and make you more confident in your new business venture, an online MBA could be a great option for you.