A friend of mine has gone back to school to study massage therapy with the goal of becoming a licensed practitioner in a sports clinic some day. Until he started studying, I knew next-to-nothing about massage, and even less about massage therapy. With apologies to massage therapists everywhere, I figured it was just a lot of kneading and rubbing and whatnot.
But, during a recent lunch, my friend described his studies to me. I was fascinated by the level of detail and intricacy of his studies and it made me wonder if fewer start-ups would fail if entrepreneurs put as much thought and study into business that massage therapists have to put into their preparations.
For my friend’s major assignment due at the end of the year, he’s been given a skeleton (not a real one, of course!) and he has to use modeling material to build each individual muscle accurately, marking connection points on the bone where they actually exist. In other words, each student builds a scale model of a human being from the bones up.
This is only one of several highly detailed anatomical/physiological studies required by his class. In other projects, they have to accurately draw muscles and connection points on transparencies laid over a picture of a bone. They have to put in a hundred hours of practice time each semester by massaging family and friends plus another hundred hours of time in a clinic. And, last week, they went to the local Health Sciences Center to view cadavers that had been cut open for them to view real muscle. (Gross!)
At the end of his studies, he’ll know the human body literally inside and out. And that got me thinking about how aspiring entrepreneurs could potentially achieve spectacular success if they applied the same diligence and study to businesses.
Aside from just dreaming and planning their own business, can you imagine how much more successful an entrepreneur could be if they constructed the muscle on top of the bones of a business? (An example of this is something we did in the Financial Management class of my MBA, where were given financial statements and had to reconstruct the business from them). Or if the entrepreneur spent hundreds of hours observing local businesses and looking at case studies of successful businesses (and case studies of business cadavers)? Or if they “interned” with a successful entrepreneur to help and study?
For aspiring entrepreneurs who are currently working for someone else, yet dream of some day starting their own business, why not become a business expert right now by studying the anatomy and physiology of businesses around you?