Preparing for success in business: Lessons from real entrepreneurs

Your in-class teaching moments can help students learn a lot about how to be an entrepreneur. But there really is nothing like a lesson from someone who has “been there, done that” — so why not bring some entrepreneurs into your classroom?

In a recent CERTIFIED Academy: Business webinar, we sat down with entrepreneurs Haili Murch and Devon LaMay, who shared how they believe educators can spark the entrepreneurial spirit in the classroom.

Discover their passions

Any entrepreneur will tell you that you must be passionate about your business and the work you do. But how can you help students discover their passions and talents, and connect those to their future businesses? Start with the people who know them best: their family and friends.

Haili shared some great advice from when she started her own business. “I recommend helping students survey their close friends and family. Have your learners ask those closest to them what their gifts and talents are; ask them what’s the thing they would come to your learner for. Often, your students won’t see those talents in themselves. Opening their eyes will help them see their potential and realize that the world is full of opportunities.”

Help students get comfortable with being imperfect

Once your students have a passion and a plan, it’s time to dive in headfirst. Many of your students will want something polished and perfect before they can begin — but entrepreneurship is about failing quickly, learning from it, and moving forward.

Devon offered insights from her own school experience. “When I was in high school, if you would have said less-than-perfect work, I would have been appalled at that suggestion. But to succeed in business, entrepreneurs quickly learn that having something done and imperfect is better than having something undone and perfect,” Devon commented.

When starting her own business, Devon adopted a new way of thinking about the quality of work she should aim for. “I was talking to a very successful entrepreneur who’s grown a multimillion-dollar business. He said, ‘In our business, we do B-minus work.’ I was shocked because B-minus is nowhere near my usual standard. But he reminded me that my B-minus work is better than someone else’s work, someone who’s not in your business. Furthermore, your B-minus work will continue to improve and so will your business.”

Your classroom is the perfect safe place for students to practice with less-than-perfect work. These small “failures” give students a chance to polish their skills before they launch their business in the real world.

Establish a strong business foundation

You’ve discovered your students’ passions and helped them develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Now it’s time to focus on the hard skills needed for business success. “I wish I would have learned in school how to communicate in a professional environment. I wish I would have learned how to network properly. I wish I would have learned some basic business skills,” mentioned Haili.

That’s where Certiport can help. Our Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification ensures tomorrow's leaders are prepared with the toolkit they need to get ahead in today's competitive landscape. Whether your learners are starting a bakery or launching the next billion-dollar startup, this certification program validates their understanding of core business principles, including the essentials needed to launch and maintain a successful professional endeavor.

Looking for additional ideas for how to bring entrepreneurship into your classroom? Watch the full webinar for additional insights from Haili and Devon.