What They Did Not Teach Me in Business School
Posted on: September 24, 2012 | Creative Leadership
By Think Jar Collective member Shaun Brandt of ONST Creative
ONST Creative recently passed its “One Year of Business” mark on September 1st. A proud moment for my business partner and I, no doubt. While the last 12 months of 100 hour weeks have helped me grow more than the previous 25 years of my life, they also showed me some serious holes in my business education.
While my education prepared me to think critically, work my ass off, and deliver under pressure, it provided zero insight on a few things. I would like to highlight a few of these for current and future business students. Hell, maybe someday my Alma Mater will even let me stop by and play Obi Wan Kenobi with some young, optimistic business Jedi’s.
What They Didn’t Teach Me in Business School
(1)Disagreements are good. Strong opinions from employees and disagreements between my business partner and I, are what have kept our work original and pixel perfect. Just because the first idea we come up with is unique and beautiful, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better solution to the problem. Critical feedback within our team helps us find the smallest holes in every great idea, so that we are able to fill them before dedicating too much time to a concept that may be flawed. There are endless competitors in nearly every field you will enter. Attention to these fine details is what will set you apart.
(2) Working in an office doesn’t mean you have to wear dress clothes. In fact, it doesn’t mean you have to wear clothes at all.
(3) Treat staff, clients, and everyone you speak to about your business with respect, and always keep an open mind. There should be a class in every School of Business focused strictly on building general people skills. I know this seems like common sense, but believe me, it’s not. I know a lot of assholes.
(4)As an owner of your small business, you are the last to get paid. Staff don’t always share your passion for what you’re doing. Keep them happy, pay them when you say you will, and pay them fairly. Aside from happy clients, these people are your most cost-efficient advertising medium, and if treated well, are the only ones that are going to share an 18 hour work day with you.
(5) As an entrepreneur, I truly believe that if you are good at what you do, you will succeed. However, if you are dedicated enough to pay attention to every small detail that you deliver, you cannot fail.
(6)Just like a classroom, having numerous creative minds in the same room allows great ideas to blossom quickly. However, it’s bringing these ideas to action that was one of our greatest struggles. Draw your ideas out for everyone to see, mapping out each step of the process. A white-board is ideal, but 25 pieces of loose leaf taped together will suffice. No matter how organized and accurate we think a project is, it’s only after seeing the entire scope scribbled out in dry erase marker that we find those game-changing tweaks that keep our clients coming back.
(7) Most importantly, there is no book or professor that can teach you the best way to launch and run a business. We’ve hit hundreds of snags, and hundreds of home runs. The only constant was our passion for our craft. Maintain that, and you’ll have fun, at the very least.