Harvard University has a legendary MBA program that combines academic, practical and immersive methods of teaching young students about business and entrepreneurship.
Those poor souls. All they need is to have a couple of kids, and they will learn all that without having to move to Massachusetts.
The cost will be significantly more, the learning will be life-long, and the mornings are worse than any college frat party hangover…until that sweet little sleepy mouth says, “I Love You, Mommy”!
Let’s take a look at exactly how your parenting has helped you develop your own MBA program as an entrepreneur, shall we?!
Finance and Accounting
Several of the key courses in the first year at Harvard teach about Finance and Accounting.
Hell, just try to choose, and pay for all the necessary items for your first baby’s nursery, and you know all you need to know about Financial Accounting and “An understanding of the concepts and language of accounting so it can be used as an effective tool for communication, monitoring, and resource allocation.” (See the full curriculum for everything I reference here)
How stressed did you feel, and how comfortable was the communication with your other half when you went shopping for all those big ticket items? If you were one of the lucky ones, you had Angel Investors in the form of In-Laws, but the rest of us had to learn very quickly about credits (money going into our bank account) and debits (money going out – why do you think that shiny chip-enabled card is called a ‘debit card’?). Then, you hit the first birthday party, and had to learn it all over again.
Every parent who holds their precious little baby in their arms for the first time knows exactly how they will raise this pink, wrinkly, vulnerable creature. We know what we will keep about the way we were raised, and we certainly know what we will change! When the sibling comes along, we learn pretty quickly the Leadership component of our MBA – how to “Manage the performance of individual subordinates” and “The determinants of group culture.”
Organize your first family vacation, and have everyone live through it, and you’ve passed “Develop a vision for the future” and “Align the organization behind that vision,” not to mention how to “Motivate people to achieve the vision.”
Get through your first present-centered holiday like Christmas with a child who is aware of the holiday and all its benefits – without going bankrupt – and you’ve got the entire Marketing section of your MBA covered. Your kid is your “Customer” and you’ve just “Controlled the elements of the marketing mix – product policy, channels of distribution, communication (or handling tantrums), and pricing – to satisfy customer needs profitably.” Combine this experience with your first Play Date with another 3 year old, and you can now “Use this knowledge in a brand (aka family) management simulation, culminating in an examination of the evolution of marketing, particularly focusing on opportunities presented by the Internet.”
Technology and Operations Management
The last course of study in your first year MBA program is my favorite, and it’s the backbone of every family.
Just change more than one diaper; prepare a meal, clean anything, or do laundry while caring for an awake toddler; or get a First Grader ready for school, and you’ve passed “Process Analysis” quicker than The Flash!
Now, do that with two or more kids, and you’ve got “Cross-functional and cross-firm integration” and “Product development.”
If you are growing and developing your own family independent of your parents or in-laws, and if you are allowing your kids to take part in their own personal growth and development (in other words, you are not requiring them to do things exactly as you do them), then you’ve passed the entire SECOND TERM of the first year MBA at Harvard.
What’s my point, you ask?
I thought I was clear, but I understand you might be a bit sleep deprived (prepare to stay that way until you’re a grandparent who falls asleep on the couch at 5pm – now you know why your grandpa did that when you were young!)
Everything you would learn if you were to take the time, energy and money to actually go to school and get an MBA you already know! Just search your parenting experience, and put it to practice in your business.
Sounds easy, but it’s not.
The difficulty isn’t in the mechanics or tools or application.
The difficulty is in your head.
It was in my head, too.
I was a power-chasing, ladder-climbing corporate woman before I had kids.
I quit all that to raise them, and at the same time felt like I had quit my confidence and identity, too.
I’ve been stumbling around, stepping on Legos, and growing gray hair for the past 10 years trying to find it again.
When I realized that all I had to do is look at what I’ve done as a parent – everyone is alive, healthy and relatively happy – I knew I could do the same with a business.
This post is actually an excerpt of the book I’m writing on the subject.
After over 100 podcast interviews with successful entrepreneurs who also happen to be parents, and who have ALL confirmed this parent – entrepreneur skills connection, I know I’m onto something every other parent who wants to start and grow a business might need.
If this post has given you a few chuckles, caused a few light bulbs to go on over your head, and made you think about your life just like a Bugs Bunny cartoon does, then please share it with your tribe, sign up to learn more, or leave a comment below letting me know which parenting experience you feel has given you the best skill to grow your business.
What’s mine? When my teen, in response to my 10th reminder to do his homework, spews teen attitude, and I don’t spew it back…I can use the same deep breaths and patience when a sales campaign doesn’t produce immediate results either.
Enjoy the Journey!
Print this article, and stick it on your white board, frig, or forehead to remind yourself of what you already have in you to create success in business. Hell, you survived potty training without killing anyone…THAT’S AMAZING!