As an entrepreneur I thought it might be fun to watch the video that Peter recently posted and see if I fit the mold. I’m sure many of you have done that by now. As someone who has spent her career in entrepreneurship, I have to say that I don’t agree with some of what the Minute MBA had to say, although the way they said it was pretty clever.
The immediate irony of the video is its title, “The Minute MBA: How to Tell if You’re an Entrepreneur.” That’s an oxymoron if I ever saw one. MBA degrees are geared primarily toward preparing candidates for middle and upper management in established companies. And while most MBA programs today include the opportunity to take entrepreneurship courses, the two modes of thinking struggle to find common ground. Someone looking to understand entrepreneurship is not going to rush to a site dedicated to the MBA.
The video claims that entrepreneurs are gamblers – huge risk takers. That absolutely is not true but it may appear so from an MBA’s perspective. In any business they’re starting, entrepreneurs calculate the upside and the downside of what they’re about to do—in other words, they figure out if the risk is worth it. No entrepreneur worth anything gambles Las Vegas style; they have limited resources that they don’t want to waste on a bad move.
Then there is the idea that there’s an 82% chance that you will fail before you succeed. I would argue that if you start a business that solves a real problem or need in the market, your chances of success go up dramatically. The Small Business Administration finds that most businesses go out of business in the first 5 years; and by 10 years, two thirds have failed. So, yes, it’s a big number, but it’s not 82%. Keep in mind that a lot of those failed businesses were hobby businesses, not serious businesses. Furthermore, the important thing to remember is that you are in control and there’s a lot you can do to make sure you don’t end up in the failure column (like not gambling?).
And finally, the video emphasized the notion that entrepreneurs start very young with lemonade stands and the like. Yes, some do, but increasingly people are discovering entrepreneurship later in life. In fact, one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs is over 50 years of age! The point is that if you didn’t have a business while you were a kid, don’t worry about it. It’s never too late. Just find a real and viable need in the market and you’ll have a good chance of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
The Minute MBA is a clever way to present an idea; just don’t take what it says too seriously.