According to a ‘trends in self-employment in the UK’ release on the Office for National Statistics website, the number of self-employed people in the UK labour market increased to 4.8 million in 2017, up from 3.3 million in 2001. A good percentage of the labour force is going into self-employment, and the numbers are increasing every day. This means that if you are in self-employment or if you intend to choose that path, you have to plan well in order to be successful. This is because, as more and more people go into self-employment, the competition goes up.
As a business owner, how you play your cards determines your market share and also the type of talent you attract for your company. There are so many steps you can take to ensure the two go well for you. A good example is earning an MBA. This article highlights some of the key reasons why an MBA is useful to business people.
Gain Essential Business Knowledge and Skills
A very good business idea can fail if you don’t have the knowledge and skills necessary to implement it well. This is one of the key reasons why going to business school is important for business people. You will be equipped with the knowledge and skills you need to turn your idea into a successful business. Some good examples of knowledge and skills you can gain from online MBA courses at institutions like Aston University include:
- Leadership skills: Successful business owners are good leaders. As a business person, you need to learn how to relate with your team members and other people well. A good leader is:
- a good communicator
- someone who respects those they work with
- someone who can motivate and inspire others, among many other things.
When the leadership is poor, employees can turn out to be unhappy and demotivated, conflict can arise, productivity and customer service can worsen, and good employees may leave the company. Good leadership is one of the areas MBA courses focus on.
- Business planning: A business plan allows you to see so many things, including how viable the business idea is. The idea may look good on the surface, but turn out to be bad idea once you do a SWOT analysis. In business school, you can learn more about business planning, and this allows you not only to see how viable your idea is, but also to learn how to write a good plan that you can present to lenders and investors.
- Sales and marketing: Coming up with a good product is not enough for success. You need to plan how you are going to get the product to your target and the steps to follow during the sales process. A good product can fail if your sales and marketing is not structured properly. Sales and marketing is another business component that you can learn in business school.
- Finance: A business requires funds to run. When planning your finances, you should focus not only on the start-up capital, but also the cash flow once the business is in operation. Will you be able to meet all your cash needs?
Note that all MBA courses are not the same. Before you sign up, check the course outline. This will tell you the skills and knowledge that you will gain by signing up for that course. Most institutions will allow you to choose from multiple pathways so that you can major in an area that meets your needs.
Networking and Mentorship
Business school is a great place to network and meet some mentors. You will get a chance to learn from your course mates who are already in business and those who are aspiring to start. Even when you take your degree online, there is always an opportunity to network on forums and even meet up for projects and discussions.
Some of the key benefits of networking include:
- Those relationships you build with your peers may turn out to be great business partnerships in the future.
- Where they don’t turn into partnerships, you will still benefit by having a network of business-minded friends who you can turn to when you need motivation, ideas or support.
- You can also do social media collaborations for your businesses.
The list of things you can do when you network with others is endless. Set networking goals once you join school and make sure you support others as they support you. As the famous quote by Keith Ferrazzi says:
“The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity”.
Also, don’t rush to partnerships and collaborations. Take time to know your peers and create good relationships first.
Other than your peers, you will also have the opportunity to interact and develop good relationships with your professors. Some professors in business school are not only trainers but also business people. Hence, you can learn more from people who have experience in business as you study. Furthermore, you can get one or more professors to be your mentors.
Another key benefit of attending business school for an MBA is that the learning plays a key role in self-awareness. You will have the chance to:
- Identify your strengths as a business person and know how to capitalise on them.
- Identify the weaknesses that can hamper your success. Self-awareness is a good starting point for self-improvement and growth.
Add to Your Credentials
Having something extra on your credentials can increase your chances of getting funding approval, striking a deal with a partner, or getting an investor. The MBA can give others the confidence that you are serious about your life as an entrepreneur.
Those are some of the key reasons why going back to business school for an MBA can be a good idea for business people. And you don’t have to close your business to earn a degree, thanks to part time and online programmes. If you decide to go back to school, make sure you choose an institution that is accredited and has a good reputation. If you don’t choose your school well, you may end up studying an outdated curriculum that won’t add much value to your life and business.