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Eureka: The three-minute MBA Eureka: The three-minute MBA
by Jay Gutman
2018-06-02 06:55:53
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For many students, getting an MBA has become a code-word diploma for “I want to make money.” If you're thinking about getting an MBA but don't want to endure dull lectures, cramming for tests and perhaps writing a thesis, here's your MBA in three minutes.

Business is just common sense. There are five things you need to know in any business. The rest you can learn on the spot. First, you need legal knowledge. Second, you need funds. Third, you need knowledge of the product you are going to produce and sell. Fourth, you need networking skills. Fifth, you need sales skills. Let me touch upon those briefly.

mba001_400Legal knowledge. There are laws surrounding every aspect of business. Before you get into business, you will perhaps need to consult with a lawyer on issues regarding the registration of your business, laws surrounding the production and sales of your product, laws surrounding financial transactions and laws surrounding your interactions with clients or perhaps with staff, along with laws surrounding the real estate you might have, accidents that might happen, taxes and competitors. So you will need to have a good chat with a lawyer on those issues, and the more the lawyer tells you, the better.

Funds. Few businesses don't require startup funds. There are many ways you can seek funds to start a business, including getting loans from your family and friends, getting bank loans, or trying to get loans in the financial market. There are also several foundations and associations that give grants, some of them very competitive, others not so competitive, some of them advertised, others not so advertised. So you will want to join several charities and organizations, including business and chambers of commerce who might have startup grants and who might be able to provide you with free money to start your busniess. A lot of people get mixed funds to start their business, and will be a mix of family and friends, bank, financial market loans and foundation or chamber of commerce grants. Finally, what you need to know is that even for businesses that don't require funds in principle, there are always the transportation fees and other opportunity costs to start your business.

Knowledge of the product you are going to produce and sell. A lot of the product failures stem either from lack of funds, lack of networking, lack of sales skills, lack of legal knowledge, or lack of knowledge of the product you are selling. To know the product you need a good mix of scientific and human knowledge. That is you need to know the science behind your product, and what the tastes and needs of clients are. If you are selling cosmetics, you need to know what goes in the cream, you also need to know what the current fashion trends are and what kind of makeup women are wearing. If you are going to produce education materials, you need to have a deep understanding of the education material, along with what the needs of the students are.

Networking skills. I remember an American who was trying to sell English education materials in South Korea. He was tall, spick-and-span, always had a suit and tie on, was articulate, but unfortunately he only hung out with either Koreans who speak English, or with foreigners who speak English. His target audience really should be Koreans who don't speak English very well if at all, because they are the ones who will be needing English education materials for their children. When networking, the question you need to ask yourself is not “what kind of people do I like to hang out with” or “what kind of people understand my product” but “what kind of people need my product?” If you're in the cosmetics business, you want to hang out with teenagers or with women who are in dating age or about to get married, as they are the ones who need cosmetics the most. If you are in the bakery business, you will need to find people who like to eat baked stuff and who live in the neighborhood, not other bakers or people who live far from the bakery. So you want to join the associations and clubs in the area where a lot of the potential clients will be living, and they will need to know you. During networking events you can discuss anything related to small talk, but don't mention your business, except in passing. Talk about music, movies, politics, the economy, society or food, but make sure they know you own a business.

Sales skills. Have you noticed that bartenders rarely discuss drinking or alcoholic products? But they usually drag the conversation and hope it drags until you find someone else you can chat with or you're getting a little tipsy. The art of sales is a subtle art, that is the art of making the money transaction secondary, and small talk primary. When dealing with clients, just like the bartender, you want to make sure that people are drinking, but also want to make sure that they're having a good time. When they're having a good time, you're sure they'll come back. The problem is, some salesmen make so much small talk that they forget they're in it for the sales, kind of like the bartender who talks so much he or she forgets to pour the drinks for the patrons.

OK so was that three minutes? Five minutes? I just saved you a couple of years of very expensive benchwarming. You're welcome.

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