It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and I’m doing what I do best–reading, research, and planning. In looking for suppliers for differing ventures I’m in the process of testing and creating, I started digging around company about pages, getting to understand the concepts behind mega giants that are consistently rocking and growing. Something struck a chord that I thought I’d pass on to you: You don’t need an MBA to do the thang.
In English, what I’m saying is you don’t have to be a Harvard grad in order to make a profound impact with a massive product or service. Some of our really big brands started with the elementary concept that often gets lost in textbooks, research and over-analyses–supply and demand. It seems that sometimes folks, myself included, get caught up in trying to do all the technical due diligence stuff that we hear from professors, experts, coaches, family or friends, that we get lost in actually figuring out what the market wants and how best to get it to them.
This week, I saw a viral advertisement for what amounts to a genetically super-enhanced rubber band, the Tight Wallet. The product is brilliant in its simplicity, wrapping our money in a clip or rubber band, but it’s not like my great-grandfather or my gangster uncles hadn’t already done this way back in the day. What Tight has done was taken something, that didn’t take butt loads of education to create, and applied funky materials and viral marketing in order to supply the demand for a non-bulky, easily transportable wallet.
Think about the supply and demand concept a little more closely. For the sake of making it even more elementary, or even preschool-ery, problems need solutions. Therefore, supply + demand = problem + solution (hmmm, this equation may be pre-algebra which may not be taught in preschools, lol). If people’s problem is they can’t find adequate housing in a tough economy, the solution may be emptying out that den full of junk that could be sold on Craigslist (ooh a business within a business, I like that too–sell stuff on Craigslist), and rent it out for a nominal fee. Simple.
Using that same basic problem and scaling it, you could invest in real estate. The problem stays the same. The demand will be determined by things like location, pricing and amenities. The legal stuff will involve research and having paperwork in order. Still, you don’t need to be considering Ivy League or even possess a bachelor’s degree to make moves in business.
In order to present a balanced view on my observation, I’ll flip it to say that you don’t have to fail in business or have wasted your time if you do have an MBA. Also, a person many times does have to have more than a high school diploma, AA, or bachelor’s degree to have different opportunities available to them. The bottom line of what I really want to convey is not to 1) feel inadequate if you don’t have an MBA, 2) to clarify that MBA’s don’t necessarily make you prepared to start and run a profitable business and 3) to encourage you to focus more on developing problem solution skills in real world application than textbook theory.
Afterall, Fatburger’s winning strategy started with a woman, Lovie Yancey, whose success was attributed to selling tasty, fat, juicy burgers and to selling these to folks leaving the club late and who were hungry. Now the franchise is WINNING with international locations. Maybe their leadership, an investment group to which Yancey sold her chain to for millions, does involve quite a few folks with MBA’s but I think the creator was merely a woman who saw the problem of hungry party goers and beat out the competition by being open and available to serve them good food. After all she is quoted as saying, “I don’t worry about McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s, They may be more popular, but a good hamburger sells itself, and I don’t think anybody makes as good a hamburger as we do.”
So don’t let anything stop you from feeling qualified, no matter how popular thinking or a disguised caste system, may make you feel like you’re not able to do this good thing without an MBA. More on education reform in another post, but for now, focus on figuring out the problem in people’s lives and how to solve it. Get started. Test. Refine. Scale.
What do you think the prerequisites to success in business are? Share them with me. As they say, iron itself sharpens iron, so I’d like to hear what your thoughts are on this subject.