5 Things They Didn’t Teach Me In Business School

On February 2, 2015

5 Things They Didn’t Teach Me In Business School

This post is dedicated to business owners that are in the trenches today making it happen.  Cheers my friends!  If this post helps you, share it with another owner.  I’m for you today!

What Business School Taught Me

Step 1: Create a business plan

Step 2: Secure capital needed to accomplish business plan

Step 3: Accomplish your business plan through creating 3-5 years strategic plans

What Owning A Business Taught Me

Step 1: All of the stuff above doesn’t work

I have personally started 4 companies:

  • College Load Out: In college, me & a buddy, created a moving company for sorority girls. Turned over to partners.
  • The Change Group: A church bookkeeping company. Sold.
  • MAG Bookkeeping: Another church bookkeeping company. Sold.
  • The Rocket Company: A coaching, consulting & e-learning company. Active.

Here are a couple of learnings from doing business in the trenches.

1. Your gut is better than your business plan

Every business plan I’ve written just never held up in the real world.  Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”  This is my view on business plans.  I’ve learned to lean into my gut & just try things.

2. Pivots are crucial

If you are in love with your current business, beware.  I meet so many people that are so in love with their idea that they don’t listen when the market is saying, “this sucks.”  So, in every company, I’ve spent the majority of the time working a plan & then pivoting.

For instance, when I started The Rocket Company, it was a high-touch consulting company.  Over time, I saw that it would be hard to scale that & reach a lot of new customers so we transitioned to an e-learning company.  That pivot grew our revenue by 1.6 Million in 24 months.

What’s your gut saying about your next pivot?

3. Reading people is more important than reading books

Reading people is huge.  Understanding why they tick & what they want.  Reading a potential staff hire or customer is invaluable.  The emotional IQ of the business owner matters as much or more than their business smarts.

If you don’t do well with people, you will rarely do well with business. 

4. Recurring revenue is where it’s at

I’m 33 years old & if I had to say the biggest lesson I learned in business is this one.  Sell it once, get paid daily.  Our company is currently moving further into this.

We are using our e-learning platform as a way to help churches, but now we want to integrate into the everyday experience of the church. So we are building the most user-friendly donation platform this space has ever seen.  Again, we are pivoting to meet the market demand.

5. Have fun always

I’ve almost lost it all & we’ve almost gone out of business.  My advice is this… Quit taking yourself & business so serious.  Yeah yeah yeah, I know… your livelihood depends on it.  That’s great. But being stressed & miserable about money all the time is just a sucky way to live.

Our team loves to party together.  Everyday in our offices we turn up rap music & dance.  We have an endless supply of rocket shooters we shoot at each other.  When guests come to the building, we ambush them as they enter.  Why?  Well… What’s the fun of being all stiff & boring?  Everyone likes to laugh & have a good time.  Enjoy your life today!

What is a lesson you would want to share with others?



  • By caseygraham  1 Comments   


    Posted by Scott Magdalein on
    • Jan 1 2016
    I've learned that talking to customers is the most valuable use of my time as the CEO of a small company. I learn a ton from them. When I was launching TrainedUp.church last year, I started with the assumption that churches needed deep integration with their Church Management Software in order to win their business. After lots of conversations, it turns out that API integration with their ChMS is a nice-to-have, but not necessary. I also realized that churches were using our platform for much bigger things than I originally expected. Finally, I'm a big believer in partnerships with other companies serving the same market. That's why we're building a content marketplace for training courses that are provided by other content partners like The Rocket Company [hopefully :)] and others. Thanks for the great post, Casey.

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