An MBA is perhaps an obvious choice for those looking to establish their own company. But how can it benefit those who feel they’ve already succeeded? Can it break us free from those common stagnating comfort zones that we fall into easily? Perhaps it can assist in uncovering hidden restraints that are unknowingly hindering further success?
We spoke to David Williams, Director of Chamber of commerce, and founder of Redrok, about his experiences in business and how an MBA, which he is currently studying for at the University of St Mark & St John, has so far improved his already thriving business.
He said: “Anybody who starts to run a business without having had any previous educational background, certainly via university, which I didn’t have, has used trial and error. And while there are a lot of benefits to that, there is the potential to equally make some huge mistakes.
“What I gained from studying Human Resources Management has helped me redesign what we do in our business, and within the first two years we’ve reshaped the climate within the business.”
Although David felt that there were no key issues as such prior to this, he knew there were certain questions that needed uncovering, “When I attended initially, I couldn’t see the problems. I didn’t know what my competitive advantage was, I didn’t know it was my staff, and I had no idea how I was going to take my business to the next level. What the MBA has done is to highlight certain areas I’d not considered previously.”
How quickly was David able to implement the MBA into his own business? He said: “Every single module has had some relation to my business and the work I do around it, which meant I’ve been able to make plenty of incremental changes as the course progressed.”
Asked about the notion of failure, he said: “I think what’s really important is that when you make mistakes, you learn from them. But when it comes to the financial side of running your own business I would strongly advise start-ups to invest in getting a book keeper. It’s really important that you don’t try to do your own finances if that’s not your skill.”
Of course, the MBA has impacted more than just David, his staff have also benefitted immensely. “I did a ‘Leaderships of a Leaders’ course,” he said, “and through a leadership trait questionnaire my staff highlighted certain areas. However, certain aspects about myself emerged, and although some of these were not easy to change, I was able to implement some modifications, allowing me to gain more balance. This has had a massive impact not only on the business, but my staff also. They’re more empowered now, taking on more commitments and challenges themselves.”
When it comes to family and friends, David knows first-hand how running your own business can affect those around you. He said: “One of the toughest things in business is having a family, and they’ve certainly suffered through my work commitments. Take holidays for example; having the luxury of being able to take time off unfortunately isn’t going to be realistic, particularly in the early days. When people think about going into business, they need to consider these things.”
So what’s the secret to a day in the life of David Williams? “You need downtime. When you run your own business it isn’t going to be a 9-5 job. What you’ve got to learn to do is to switch off. Find something you love. For me its sport; road cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and surfing, they all get a small amount of my time regularly. It’s also a fantastic way of building new relationships, which can be great for your business too.”
David’s final words show just how much of a positive effect an MBA can have to even the most established of businesses, “I’ve learned how to empower my staff. And by trusting them and giving them the space and authority to run things, it’s made everything so much stronger. And now I’m also able to take some time off knowing that the business is continuing to grow. “
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