Tech startups have long attracted engineers and programmers. They also tend to pop up in places like Silicon Valley or the new Silicon Prairie, due to their reputation as modern hotbeds of innovation and creativity – even to the point that business majors were looked down upon in tech startup culture for years. However, tech firms are starting to recognize the need for MBAs and the skills they bring to the table. Here are four reasons why tech startups need more MBAs.
Marketing the Product or Service
Marketing is important to any business. However, it is critical to startups. Yet the technical experts that tend to dominate startups have little to no experience or expertise in this area. This is where MBAs come in. MBAs understand how to do customer research, plan marketing campaigns and promote products to investors.
MBA graduates are being recruited by startups that now recognize the need for business experts at the very start if they’re going to survive long-term. Most startups have only a small team at their core, but their goal is to grow. They lack defined processes, formal rules and even proper accounting.
This may work when there are eight people in the company, all of whom know the founders and share their vision. It isn’t good enough when there are a hundred people working for the firm. In order to become a fully functional organization, they need trained professionals who understand organizational hierarchies and formal business structures.
This is another area where MBAs will shine. They will work with founders to develop procedures and processes that are in line with the founder’s values but are also financially viable and scalable. MBAs are also needed to manage human resources, helping growing companies identify people with the right skills and culture fit.
Most tech startups founders are engineers, programmers or creative professionals. They’re specialists in their niche, but they don’t know how to network. They don’t know how to pitch a product to investors. They don’t understand what is required to demonstrate to lenders and investors that they have a sound business plan. They lack the skills necessary to build long-term business partnerships. MBAs often bring with them a strong professional network of business owners, investors, managers and financial experts. Note that getting an online MBA gives students the opportunity to create this network. In fact, the online programs tend to have more experienced professionals in addition to a truly international alumni network.
Handling the Financial Aspects
No matter how creative or innovative a product or service is, the business must make a profit on it somehow. Startups founders need help creating a business model that monetizes their idea or delivers the product or service at a profit. Tech startups are starting to bring in MBAs at the very beginning to help them better manage what little money they have. MBAs also help tech startups better manage the money that they receive from investors. Then the startup doesn’t make mistakes like spending money on things that don’t contribute to the bottom line. Furthermore, MBAs can analyze products and services the startup is delivering and help the firm cultivate the most profitable areas while minimizing costs.
Tech startups may be overrun with engineers and IT gurus, but they are increasingly appreciating the need for MBAs by their side. Moreover, many startups are learning that they must have an MBA on the team to grow.