Although it is usually recommended to have proper business knowledge before starting your own venture, it is certainly not a mandatory condition to be an entrepreneur. Earlier, people used to rate your success in life based on whether you had studied mostly business and whether you studied it abroad or in India. However, nowadays companies in Silicon Valley, especially the hottest startups, don’t seem too impressed with MBA graduates from most schools. Unless you went to a prestigious institution like Stanford, Harvard or Wharton, you will find that your MBA doesn’t have much of a positive ROI, especially for jobs in the tech sector. So here are some basic tips on how you can start a company even without having any business skills:
Find out more about your field of interest
You need not invest in a business degree, but it is of paramount importance to know your field of interest. If you want to stay in business for a long time, you need to get your facts right. You cannot start a software business without having a basic idea about coding and computer science. For example, Hadi Partovi (co-founder of Code.org), Ben Horowitz (founder of Opsware) and Keith Rabois (internet entrepreneur, investor and contrarian) don’t have business degrees, but they are all proficient in their respective fields.
If you have time and money constraints, you can always opt for online learning courses from websites like Udemy, Coursera, FutureLearn, SimpliLearn or Khan Academy.
Find a partner with complementary skills
Although you need to find a partner who is as dedicated as you are, it is always beneficial to find someone who is not exactly like you. Hiring clones to avoid conflicts is not a good decision. In fact, find someone with complementary skills to help you think out of the box, get a better perspective and to be able to manage the business, as well as your team, better. Similarly, restrain yourself from hiring your life partner as your business partner. Do not rush into these decisions as they will have a long-term impact on your personal as well as professional lives. When no one fits the role of a co-founder, don’t compromise. Instead, explore more.
Build a strong network
Participate in relevant meet-ups and events. Websites like BookMyShow and Little Black Book will help you find events in your locality. You can also rely on 10Times, an event discovery platform, to help you find relevant events, conferences and meet-ups.Once you find the right event that coincides with your field of interest, ensure that you do not stand alone in a corner or chat with only your closed circle. It is important to build a network at events. Share your ideas, not your execution steps. Be open to feedback and criticism from experts. Incorporate these advices in your business and maintain a healthy bond with them even after the event. Building a strong team of advisors is a great way to augment the knowledge that you and your new co-founder bring to the table.
Find the best place to start
Start your business in a place where there is some real scope for it. There would be no point in selling winter garments in a tropical place. So, carefully evaluate the demand-supply curve in the market and then make up your mind. Finding the right location to start up at will also help you find the right resources and team. This will accelerate your growth and maximise your chances for success.
Have you started a business without a business degree? What was your experience?