New and aspiring entrepreneurs face numerous challenges when trying to launch a business venture. Securing substantial capital for startup and initial operations costs is essential. Recruiting and managing qualified talent takes skill, leadership and authenticity. Planning for and thriving amidst uncertainty and volatility requires a unique blend of economic and financial expertise, creativity, strategic problem-solving and innovative thought.
Now, add in the ever-changing landscape of global business and supply chains, digitalization, constant disruption and technology innovation. Every such factor involved in starting and running a business can be extremely demanding. Initially, entrepreneurs are often responsible for dealing with many, if not all, of these factors along with other business startup functions. This can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Yet, if you are pursuing an entrepreneurial venture, you are probably highly motivated to learn how to face these challenges. Earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree online from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) can be an excellent way to accomplish this. Here are five ways a comprehensive MBA program like SIUE’s can help prepare you to navigate the complexities of launching a startup:
- Build Your Foundational Business Skills
Are you creative, motivated, determined and full of great ideas? All of that is certainly essential for someone launching a startup. However, drive and good ideas alone are not enough to make a new business work.
When wearing the many hats of a new entrepreneur, you will need expertise in all the fundamental business operations and management components. This includes everything from human resources to accounting, marketing to finance, logistics to strategic decision-making.
SIUE’s online MBA students explore foundational business topics like these in depth. The intent is to prepare every student to be effective in various managerial roles, regardless of their educational background.
- Ask Yourself the Right Questions to Plan Effectively
In evaluating business environments, trends and economic conditions, where does your business fit in? Why and how will it be successful? What unmet service or product need does your venture supply? What kind of business model makes sense in the short and long term? What marketing strategies will reach your target audience most effectively? How will you secure enough capital to launch and subsist until your business sees a profit?
The coursework in SIUE’s online MBA program uncovers these, and other essential questions entrepreneurs must ask themselves throughout ideation, planning and execution processes. MBA studies provide students with the know-how, critical thinking and analytical problem-solving skills needed to make strategic decisions and plan effectively and construct informed answers to such questions.
- Stay Ahead of Emerging Technologies
Embracing new business technologies is no longer just a good idea. It is a virtual necessity for staying relevant and securing competitive advantages. Businesses, especially new ones with no market share to stand on, should grasp the potential of such emerging technologies to drive efficiency, productivity, customer relationship development, marketing, sales and more.
From management information systems to enterprise resource planning, business intelligence tools, to data analytics software, SIUE students can explore the depths of technology use in modern business. This prepares entrepreneurs to knowledgeably judge, select and integrate appropriate technologies from the very start of their business’ development.
- Develop a Professional Network
Getting a foot in the door of the business world often relies on networking and making connections. Students in SIUE’s MBA program graduate knowing well-connected people, professors, alumni and even fellow students. In this, entrepreneurs with an MBA are leaps and bounds ahead of many peers in terms of having a built-in professional network of mentors, introduction-makers and even potential investors or partners.
- Learn How to Lead
Another essential component of MBA study is leadership skill development. As an entrepreneur, you will have to lead a fledgling team, bringing them together and inspiring them to work collectively towards your business goals. This takes advanced communication and interpersonal skills, organizational behavior and motivation, leadership style development and much more.
SIUE’s extensive leadership, organizational management and entrepreneurship course offerings can help you develop your capacity to inspire and lead authentically. These leadership skills, along with the many other learnings and connections an MBA provides, can be instrumental in launching a successful startup armed with knowledge, alacrity and grit.
Learn more about Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s online MBA program.