MBAs and entrepreneurs attitudes towards business education have been in the news recently. As I look after our small business and entrepreneurial customers, one question I am often asked is: Can entrepreneurialism be learnt?
In short, my answer is a resounding yes!
That’s why we place such a focus on providing what we hope is useful and practical advice for small business owners, to help people discover their business potential.
Whether it’s formal or informal business education, new insight builds confidence and can help any business owner unlock the potential in their company.
A wealth of resources
Thanks to the Web, most UK business owners have access to a wealth of free online resources and information on how to run their enterprise. Perhaps this equates to a greater responsibility to educate ourselves, although I can’t say I’ve seen a significant change in the prevalent attitudes towards business education.
If you read the Leading Edge feature in the Sunday Times appointments section, one question they always ask of today’s CEOs and managing directors is whether they prefer MBAs or managers. And the vast majority say managers.
Because whether you’re the leader of a corporation or an entrepreneur, you want people that add value.
Values Vs Labels
I’m not against MBAs at all, if anyone in a position of responsibility lacks hands on experience, it can be a great mechanism to gain theoretical knowledge in a short space of time.
What I am saying is that business, and business education is not about labels – as our own research showed, business owners don’t care about them.
‘Business owner’ really means someone who takes responsibility and makes decisions and there’s two ways to learn how to do that; by doing, or learning from others. People can become business owners at any stage of their life; it’s just a question of what they need at that time to be able to make the right decisions.
The power of mentoring
As for myself, I’m continually looking to learn more and more about business – and one of the best ways you can do that, is through a mentor.
Nearly all the people I know or have worked with that have run businesses very successfully, have typically had two or three people they could turn to, to consult and bounce ideas and questions off.
Whether you’re wondering when is the time to invest, secure funding or expand internationally, these are the sorts of issues that it’s harder to work out for yourself, whether through formal or informal business education.
No matter who you are, how old you are or what your business (or idea for a business) is, you have the capability to realise your business potential. Working out where you need to develop the most, taking advantage of the multitude of resources available and getting a mentor on board will prove invaluable in making your dream a reality.
So good luck from the whole Sage UK team, and if you’ve got any questions post them below and I’ll do my best to help.
Lee Perkins, Managing Director, Small Business Division
For more information about Discovering your Business Potential download our free business guides.