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Entrepreneurship and business course

What’s the best entrepreneurship / business course?

A question I answered in Quora forum: “What’s the best entrepreneurship or business course – it can be free or paid”.

The best course of action is to go apprentice yourself to an entrepreneur you respect and learn by working with/for them. I suggest doing this before or at the same time as starting your own business. Experience is worth a load more than book-learning from theoreticians.

I do not recommend paying $$$ for a university course UNLESS it is part time and closely aligned with working on a business you are currently running. Then you get to put into practice what you are being taught immediately.

I teach on a business course here in New Zealand called the Business Leadership Programme – by Love to Grow.

It takes 6 months and is 1 day per month with one-to-one coaching sessions in between formal classroom sessions. I recommend you ask them if you can join it virtually – the next course starts October 2016. It made a gigantic change to my business and taught me a lot about the parts of business entrepreneurship that I didn’t know (and the things I didn’t realise I needed to know!).

Shortcomings of book learning entrepreneurs

I find that any book, magazine or podcast that gives advice is helpful – but only up to a point. The authors never, NEVER talk in full detail about their mistakes, their mis-directions, bad decisions and failures. They may reference them, but you will not get the full picture.

The value is in experiencing these situations and learning from them.

If I were to tell you in public about experiences I’ve had like a bullying client, a supplier who stole from us, a bad person we hired etc you would begin to get more of an idea. But it would be unprofessional to write these things in public and I may get sued. But it is the EXPERIENCE of these situations that helps you to grow as a business person and entrepreneur.

My personal solutions to the need for experience and a fully rounded business education is on-the-job learning (reading / podcasts / business books / mentor advice) supplemented by:

  1. Chief Financial Officer meeting monthly
  2. The Business Leadership Programme educating and honing skills
  3. Mastermind Group of business owners – we meet monthly face to face and share / seek advice in a trusted, confidential roundtable. [We have a vacancy for 2 people to join our Auckland group – please ask]

What is your advice on how to learn entrepreneurship?

How I plan to benefit from a lost pitch

A question from Quora was sent to me to answer. And it demonstrates so neatly why many new business people get discouraged by apparent failures. My answer shows how to play the “advantage” card from a disappointment and position yourself for future success while gaining valuable business experience from the situation.

My business partner’s dad/investors asked for a pitch, to which he said no after a while, but still plans to use some of the ideas. What can I do?

I told her this idea I had for a concept store that she just shared with her Dad who offered to invest/add it to his Group. After talking a few weeks ago, he just sent us a decline letter, but she says he & his partners may still use some of my ideas. I’m lost… and she doesn’t care.. What can I do ?

How to benefit from a failed pitch

Write back to each person, individually, thanking them very much for their time in hearing your pitch. Be sure that they understand how much of the pitch was your concept/idea. Say you’re sorry that they have decided not to progress working with you at this time.

Tell them that if they use your ideas in future you will be keen to

a) work on the project, or
b) receive a commission payment to reflect your intellectual capital investment

Tell them that this is only one of many bright ideas you have to contribute to their businesses and ask for an introduction to two other people who might be keen to work with someone of your talents.

Four days later, follow up with a phone call to each one to check they got your email and to ask for the introductions.

The outcome will be that you will probably not get any money from a) or b). But the introductions you receive will give you entry into a new circle of prospective employers and clients.

Why this works

The psychology of getting them to acknowledge your contribution (which they may use in future without paying) provokes the principle of reciprocity. You gave them something of value and now you are asking for something of value in return (introductions).

The follow-up shows that you are more determined than most (e.g. your business partner) and therefore are “one to watch” for the future who may benefit them again.

Lastly, in future don’t share your ideas with your business partner again without first gaining agreement about how they are to be used and valued.