Lots of startup founders, small business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs hope – secretly or not so secretly – that their business idea will turn them into the next Steve Jobs.
But, for every successful business leader who never went to business school, there are 20 more that did. That’s because business school is really good for teaching you how to turn a good idea into a successful business.
If you’re a small business owner who’s been struggling to get ahead or looking for a way to help your business grow over the long term, getting an MBA could open the doors you’ve been seeking.
But unfortunately, if there’s one thing most small business owners don’t have, it’s the time to go back to graduate school for a degree – right?
Actually, if you earn your MBA online, you can gain the business and financial know-how you need to run your business smoothly and successfully without relying on trial and error while completing the coursework on your own schedule.
You’ll Learn How to Run Your Company Well and Grow It Right
When you start a business without an MBA, you’re basically learning how to be a business leader through trial and error. Sure, you can find mentors at industry conferences or through professional organizations for entrepreneurs.
You can take leadership classes and read books on business and management theory. But nothing can quite replicate the experience you’ll have in MBA classes.
Whether you want to ultimately grow your tech startup into the next industry giant, or just want to help your family-owned bakery thrive until you can hand it off to the next generation, you need to know how to grow it in a sustainable way.
If you don’t know how to foster sustainable, appropriately-paced growth, your company might grow too slowly and fail; or it might grow too fast, leaving you with a restructuring mess to clean up that could cost you countless opportunities for years to come.
Most business schools use the case method to teach students how to successfully grow a business. You’ll learn what worked and didn’t work for other business owners, and by learning from the mistakes of others, you’ll be able to avoid making those same mistakes yourself.
You might be able to learn all you need to know through trial and error, but attending the School of Hard Knocks incurs the risk of not learning what you need to know in time to implement it to the best effect for your business.
You could find yourself floundering for years as your business stagnates, instead of shepherding it to the growth you’ve always dreamed of.
You’ll Find Mentors and Build Relationships
It might sound counterintuitive, but an online MBA program is a perfect place to build mentoring relationships and network with other business leaders.
Even though you may not get much face-to-face time with your professors, you’ll still get plenty of chances to talk with them about your business and your plans on discussion boards and in group chats.
Many online MBA programs also offer students the chance to meet and network with professors and classmates in person at regular residencies, where you’ll attend classes the old-fashioned way for a week or two.
Most business schools, online or otherwise, emphasize group work and building professional relationships, so you’ll get valuable chances to network with other business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Because online MBA programs cater to the needs of working adults, and business owners who have already taken the leap into entrepreneurship, you’ll be more likely to meet people who are in your same situation in life.
You might even meet future business partners, employees, or clients in your classes – when you need talent in the future, you’ll have a pool to choose it from.
You Can Earn Your Degree in Your Own Time
As a business owner, you already have a lot on your plate. But online MBA program administrators understand that their students are busy, working adults with full schedules.
That’s why most programs allow students to complete coursework in their own time, at the time of day that suits them.
While a traditional MBA program might expect you to attend classes full-time on-campus and complete the degree in one or two years, online MBA programs typically give students five or six years to complete degree requirements. That means you can take one or two courses at a time and complete your coursework online when your schedule allows.
Earning an online MBA is perhaps the single most beneficial thing you can do to help yourself grow as a business owner. You’ll acquire the skills and knowledge you need at a pace that still allows you to stay at the helm of your business, so you can enjoy decades of success.
What are you doing to educate yourself about your business?