As we prepare to celebrate National Small Business Week, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what it is that makes small business owners so unique. That rare mix of leadership, entrepreneurship and a passion to succeed that drives them to devote their time, their life and every waking hour to making their business succeed.
Sometimes, though, those qualities aren’t enough on their own. According the Small Business Administration (SBA) only around 50% of start-ups will survive for five years or more. So how do small business owners tip the balance in their favor?
Research suggests that “High educational attainment signals a high level of skills which may be drawn upon to avoid business failure…” (Storey, D.J., Understanding the Small Business Sector, 1994). And it may surprise you to learn just how many skills an MBA can offer to help entrepreneurs start, sustain and grow their small business.
First, an MBA teaches a broad range of business theory that can quickly help an owner solve real business problems. It can give a broader perspective of marketing, finance and business, which an owner might not otherwise be aware of. And it can help an owner in effective personnel management, staff motivation and overall management skills.
In addition, many people who complete MBAs often report how quickly they can grow their professional network from like-minded students who can offer each other help and advice from varied background and skills that an owner would otherwise not have easy access to. As a business grows, this network can prove invaluable in giving advice and support at critical moments in a business’ development.
Most small business owners would agree that there just isn’t enough time in the day to answer all the calls on their time. They are so busy working that they aren’t able to manage their business, or steer a path for the future. An MBA can help provide the tools and knowledge for an owner to develop a business plan that anticipates some of the problems the business might encounter and provide solutions before the problems become a terminal threat.
Small business owners may also feel they don’t have the time to complete an MBA – they’re just too busy running their business. Fortunately, the online MBA program at Spring Arbor University is designed with working executives in mind, and it can be completed at a speed that suits their busy professional life.
Finally, an MBA can help overcome one of the biggest obstacles to small business growth and the reason start-up businesses often fail – cashflow. The passion and confidence many new small business owners feel doesn’t always translate into success when negotiating with financial institutions or venture capitalists. An MBA can help with negotiating skills and communicates a sense of credibility and knowledge that a small business owner might not otherwise have.