There is an old debate about starting up a business: “Is having a business degree of any sort – MBA, or even a B.B.A – necessary to start up a successful business?”
My answer is this: “While it’s not that you MUST have one, having one is definitely a plus.”
Why is it definitely a plus? It is because business education enables you to see what many inexperience entrepreneurs miss out. And it’s called “Values.”
Any business, I mean ANY business, must create values for someone. No, not yourself.
Say, you think you have a multi-million dollar idea. You think your idea can fundamentally change the world and how people live in it. Of course, because you’re just full of “entrepreneur spirit”, you immediately proceed to developing the product or service. And by the time you’re done, it’s been a lot of blood and flesh. But now it’ll take even more blood and flesh, because now is the part that’s called “how?”
As seen in the figure above, even when you’re ready with the actually values – in other words, when your product or service can actually do something for someone, you’ll still have to put more investments to convince that someone to select you out of literally hundreds, or even thousands of other competitors by making your potential customers (or users or whatever they may come) expect that you could actually do something for them. Without this, you might still have a business, but that business is just incomplete, and not appreciated in its full values. Not a good situation, right?
As a result, many start-ups come to seek investors so they have their products or services in the hands of someone. And you get one because you’re so lucky and he/she is so dumb that they buy your business not yet generating any profit. You get, say, one million dollar funding from the dumb. If not having the figure above in your mind, trust me for I’ve seen many, you’ll end up hiring more developers, or end up getting into a slam-bang-rotten partnership that will permanently be sucking up the life blood of your business as long as it’s still there.
So how do we avoid this?
As the title of this article, get someone to help you who can make up your talents, not duplicate. Say, you’re an IT guy that has an idea supposedly change how people live and has the skillsets to code it out, get someone that could precisely tell you to whom your idea is most valuable and how to approach and sell your idea to the party. If you’re of a business background, get the best IT guy that could understand the value creation process and successfully build the intended values in your product or service. Ideally, whatever type you are, compose a team with an intender, a developer, and a hustler.
I’m an active Facebook user, but then, in my opinion, LinkedIn is the only SNS that’s so far meaningful in the business sense. And the way I see it, it’s been that way only since the management at LinkedIn hired the guy who used to make Palm Pilot as their CEO. Remember: being an entrepreneur is a solo activity but building a great business is a team sport. And as in LinkedIn’s case, having a good team is all about chemistry and making up each other’s talents.