“The four fundamental factors of production are land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship,” writes David Ingram, a contributor at Chron.com. “The final factor [entrepreneurship] highlights the importance of leadership in business settings.” A business with poor leadership is doomed from the start, regardless of the talent of the staff or the quality of the product or service being sold.
Leadership is a set of skills rather than a skill in and of itself. “An MBA … teaches you every aspect of how a business works,” writes Christian Robinson for BusinessBecause.com. “Being a polymath, therefore, is a prerequisite both to succeeding as an entrepreneur and to succeeding as an MBA.” The knowledge and skills gained through an MBA are undoubtedly useful to entrepreneurs confronted with the responsibilities and hardships of being a leader.
The Functions of Leadership
Good leadership means being malleable and patient, and having a clear and actionable plan for the future. As pointed out by Ingram, it also means inspiring “employees to get excited about the company and their work, pushing them to excel and helping them along the way.” Leaders are also responsible for delegating efficiently, facilitating collaboration and effectively protecting their employees, including “everything from political backstabbing to physical security.”
When starting your own company, effective leadership is a requirement right out of the gate. You must have a marketable idea for a product or service, formulate a convincing business plan, stay on top of your accounting, and acquire startup capital and talent to get the ball rolling. As Mandy Fricke, writer for Under30CEO.com, notes, “An MBA provides familiarity with all the components that form a business, including accounting, finance, sales, marketing, and day-to-day administration.”
What better way to sharpen one’s leadership skills than through an MBA program?
Confidence Through Experience
The kind of environment where a student has access to experts and is free to try new ideas is where leadership skills can be honed to a fine point. “Making mistakes during an MBA program has a much lower opportunity cost than making startup mistakes in the real world,” writes Stella Garber for Forbes. “As students, there is much more wiggle room to recover quickly than when you have constraints from the real world.”
It is one thing to have an idea for a business and taking the leap. It is another thing to have an idea for a business and having the accounting, marketing and analytical know-how gained through an MBA to give it a proper launchpad. Those skills are what separate poor leadership from great leadership.
A Structure for Leadership
Starting a new business without the requisite skills is like flying a kite without a string. You might be able to have a successful launch, but you won’t be able to control it once it takes flight. The structure provided in an MBA program allows one to grow and develop leadership skills by having access to a network of experts that would otherwise be inaccessible.
“Everyone can agree that the structured mentorship and access to resources that programs provide is a great boon,” writes Garber. An MBA program will condition and strengthen your leadership skills as you enter the world of entrepreneurship.
Learn more about the University of West Florida’s online MBA with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship program.
Houston Chronicle: The Importance of Leadership in Business
Under 30 CEO: How an MBA in Entrepreneurship Will Benefit You and Your Business
Forbes: Should Entrepreneurs Get an MBA? An Inside Perspective From an MBA Entrepreneur
Business Because: Why You Might Just Need an MBA to Become a Successful Entrepreneur