Victor Kmita, co-owner and СEO ХМ-ONLINE, IT company, Edinburgh Business School MBA alumnus. Based on the materials of the author’s column in NV:Business resource.
Why entrepreneur needs business education
Ten years ago I worked in a large corporation: a promising market, an IT direction, a white salary and a wonderful social package. But for myself, I determined that I had reached the “glass ceiling.” I did not want to cheat on my boss or sit in a warm place until the end of my life. On the contrary, I began to look for opportunities to challenge myself: to figure out how a big business works, whether it can work more efficiently and what horizons are open for me.
The occasion and my favorite radio helped – in the evening I heard an advertisement of Edinburgh Business School. During the first 15 minutes of the meeting with the Academic Director I have made the decision that I needed that education. In six months I became a 30-year-old student. Someone will say that business education is expensive, but I have never regretted it: investment in myself brought me a high income. My path from the manager of the enterprise segment to owner of business turned to be shorter thanks to the MBA.
Reboot: How I Learned Kung Fu
For a very long time I had worked inside my own perception bubble: my work is important, and most of the other departments do not work and even make development difficult. Prior I felt like all those were created difficulties – the complicated purchases in finance, positions and salaries in HR. But suddenly it turned that marketing is no longer a function with random requirements. During my studies, I realized the complexity and scale of all processes in the company and began to appreciate the work of colleagues from other departments. In addition, I understood the main thing: how exactly are created the business value for the clients, income and profit. Like Neo from The Matrix: I know kung-fu.
Own business: yes or no?
Whether this is the right decision – education does not provide an answer to this question.
During my studies, I had a call to start a new direction within the company. And over time, there was a desire to create your own business. However, building a small business on the basis of a large one is a serious temptation.
I really wanted to apply the experience of big business to small companies: it seemed to me that this is a guarantee of the result. At one point there was a feeling that you could make copy-paste. But unfortunately this approach would not work. The administrative system, the personnel management system, finance and processes are effective if used in large companies. But for a small business – this is not cheap and not entirely appropriate. It is better to clear the path in the garden with a shovel, rather than with an excavator.
Knowing the circuit and system makes it clear what your next step should be.
Business education does not give a direct answer on how to properly manage risks and make money, but will make it clear the correct list of questions that need to be answered. There is a greater understanding of what the next step should be to solve your business problems.
Small business is about sales
Small business’s core principle is effective sales and understanding of your client. Those who are not involved in marketing and sales often simply do not understand this. Business education provides an opportunity to understand the analysis tools and does not give answers to questions about what to do in your particular business. Even the best product without customers costs nothing.
If you won in a small business, then you are ready to scale your success.
Young entrepreneurs are mostly euphoric about how they work, and it’s very fashionable to have own business and startup now. But the moments when something goes wrong will definitely be – this is a natural development. After such failures, a new vision is always formed of where your company should move. When the business began to demand scalability, the experience and knowledge base of the MBA began to work for me. Understanding that it was necessary to adjust or change the approach to personnel management, finance and business planning, gave me the opportunity to overcome the growth risks.
Business education helped me understand that not everything will work out the first time, taught me to analyze mistakes and make more successful attempts. Failures must be given the opportunity to transform the situation, and to change focus itself. Business is about risk, but it is also about knowledge.
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