You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

5 Problems Business School Won't Prepare You For There's a limit to how much classroom learning can get you ready for the real world.

entrepreneur daily

I'm a huge proponent of education. Secondary education introduces you to new concepts, ideas, information and even new people who can help you advance later in life. While they're certainly not a requirement to become an entrepreneur, business school and similar accredited programs can help you understand the fundamental principles necessary to create and launch a reasonably successful business.

Unfortunately, there's a limit to how much classroom learning can prepare you for the real world. Just as a course in elementary physics won't guarantee that you'll safely execute a long-distance motorcycle jump, a course in business management won't guarantee your success as an entrepreneur.

Related: Just These 5 Lessons Made the MBA Worth the Money

In particular, I'd like to highlight these five common problems that business school (or, should I say most business schools) won't prepare you for:

1. Cash-flow management

In business school, you'll learn about cash-flow management. You'll learn its definition, why it's important and how to manage it in a real environment. But school won't prepare you for the continuous demand that cash-flow management takes.

If you want to keep enough cash on hand for your business to stay afloat, you'll need to constantly check your bank statements and pay close attention to your bills and invoices (both incoming and outgoing). One misstep, and even a business that's profitable on paper could end up with a shortfall that causes a chain reaction in the company's finances.

2. Decision fatigue

Decision fatigue is a real phenomenon that sets in when you make too many decisions in a given period of time. Even small decisions, such picking out what outfit to wear or what to eat for breakfast, can add up and take their toll on your ability to make future decisions without stress.

Business school teaches you concepts like SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, which help you to make better, more informed decisions, but it doesn't teach you how to handle yourself when you face dozens to hundreds of small, yet significant decisions every day. Delegation, relaxation techniques and decision management can all help you stay fresh.

3. Actual consumer behavior

As entrepreneurs, we like to pretend that we can predict consumer behavior. We perform advanced market research, commit to large surveys and pay good money to people to try and evaluate our products. Business school teaches you how to do all these things and how to make a "best guess" at your consumer's behavior, including price points and buying habits.

Unfortunately, real audiences rarely behave according to these "best guesses" -- at least not exactly. Variables in those reactions can, and will, come up eventually, and when they do, you need to know how to handle them without panicking and starting over.

Related: The Best Career Advice I Didn't Take

4. Time management

Business school teaches you all kinds of things that you'll need to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, from day-to-day upkeep to broad strategic changes under pressure and changing circumstances. What business school doesn't teach you is that there's never enough time to do all these things.

As an entrepreneur, you'll constantly face more tasks than you or your team can handle. Instead of figuring out who will do what and when, you'll need to figure out what you can get away with not doing and how fast you can rush through the others without sacrificing quality.

5. Likability

Though entrepreneurship shouldn't ever be reduced to a simple popularity contest, it's ignorant to think that likability doesn't matter in the business world. If you want to be successful, you have to have some degree of charisma. If you want to find partners and employees, you need to be friendly, approachable and worthy of respect. If you want to find investors and clients, you need to be reasonable, sociable and open-minded.

There's nothing in school that can help shape your personality, and if you're not a very likeable person, you'll struggle making the connections you need to succeed in business. That's a blunt way to put it, but it's a fact. The good news is that most likeable characteristics -- such as smiling, conversing politely and making eye contact -- can be developed.

Colleges and universities are useful and important, but I believe that experience is an even better teacher. Only by going through the process of starting and running a business will you learn the potential drawbacks, pitfalls, and obstacles of entrepreneurship.

Failure is a great lesson, as long as you can get over the initial sting, but experiencing it firsthand is far different than reading about it on paper. So if you're reading this and you're concerned about making mistakes, don't be. Learn what you can in business classes and in various articles online such as this one, then get out there and start doing things.

Related: To MBA or Not to MBA

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

Elon Musk Reveals When Tesla Will Release Its First Robotaxi

Tesla's CEO says the fully autonomous Tesla taxi is arriving soon — in 122 days.

Business News

Total Solar Eclipse 2024 Live Feed: Where, When and How to Watch the 2024 Eclipse

Here's what to know about the total eclipse 2024 and a live stream from NASA.

Business News

A Look Inside the Company That Is Making $500 Million a Year Serving Italian Beef Sandwiches Made Famous by 'The Bear'

Portillo's CEO Michael Osanloo shares his secret to keeping hungry customers coming back again and again. (Hint: It requires a lot of napkins.)

Real Estate

How PR Can Build Trust and Credibility for Real Estate Brands

Follow these insights and actionable tips for leveraging PR to enhance the reputation and visibility of your real estate brands.

Legal

Is the Company Tagline You Want to Use Already Someone Else's Trademark? Here's How to Avoid Legal Issues and Infringement.

Emphasizing the importance for small business owners to ensure that their chosen company taglines or trademarks are not already registered, to avoid potential legal issues and infringement on someone else's intellectual property.

Business News

OpenAI Reportedly Used More Than a Million Hours of YouTube Videos to Train Its Latest AI Model

YouTube CEO Neal Mohan said last week that if OpenAI used YouTube videos to train text-to-video generator Sora, that would be a "clear violation" of the terms of use.