Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
Splinter of Chaos

How much BUISINESS does one need to run a company?

This topic is 3665 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

First off, I want to start a company right out of college. Don't tell me if you think it's a stupid idea, I know and don't care. Besides, things might not even work out for me to do it that way. The thing is, I don't care if I don't end up being the person who makes the models or the concept art or any thing like that, I want to be the programmer and designer. I want to go to school, double major in computer science and math (maybe physics), and start a company. But, I'm being told that I should minor is business; maybe major (goodbye math major). I really don't want to take ANY business courses, though. I figured that running a very small business and selling games online, maybe with people online instead of at an office, I'd be able to get a foot in the door without real business knowledge. Well, even I realize that last part sounds incredibly stupid--I'd probably need some rental office space and real people to work with--but this brings me back to my point: How much business should I take in while at college? Some contrary advice I got from someone who actually ran a computer software company with no business knowledge is: either go to my local university (an average CS school) and learn about business so I'm a valuable enough member of the team that they won't desert me, or go to a good school and get a CS, in which case I'll be valuable enough to the team. The question this brings up is: Who runs the business? Anyway: any advice would be helpful. I have four years to work out kinks in my plan and decide how much business to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I don't find the bit where you say you want to start small stupid. The bit I'm scratching my head over is where you say you want to start a company but you don't want to take any business courses. If your goal is to start a business, why are you shying from the study?

I'm in a position where I'm looking to start a small business myself, but I only started heading in that direction after I finished my undergraduate studies. I've tried to pick up some learning from books and a few short courses on tech start-ups to compensate. If you really want to run a business, why not take a few courses now while you can?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The question is about where the balance is. Should I major in business? Minor? Casually take a few courses? It's not even that hard?

The thing is, I just don't care about economy, what an entrepreneur is, and crap like that. I want to minimize my exposure and focus on what I think is important: programming, math, English literature, crap like that. In fact, I want to take as many of those classes as possible and am peeved that business is going to get in the way. That's why I want to minimize my exposure...besides getting told a bunch of crap about how great capitalism is would really piss me off.

I know knowledge of business is required, I just want to study as little business as possible so nothing else gets minimalized.

I know I'm not very good at wording things like this. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
First off, I want to start a company right out of college. Don't tell me if you think it's a stupid idea, I know and don't care.
Starting a business right out of college isn't a stupid idea. I started consulting just after I started college. As long as you are persistent and willing to do what needs doing, such as taking business courses, you can get off to a good start.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
I want to be the programmer and designer. I want to go to school, double major in computer science and math (maybe physics), and start a company. But, I'm being told that I should minor is business; maybe major (goodbye math major). I really don't want to take ANY business courses, though.
Basically, you want to be the R&D guy. That's fine, but you should pair up with someone who's business-savvy, if you're not willing to put in legwork on that front.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
I figured that running a very small business and selling games online, maybe with people online instead of at an office, I'd be able to get a foot in the door without real business knowledge.
Sounds simple and easy on paper, but in practice, when you're starting up, you're not going to have much luck. Playboy success is for those who are born rich. Real success is for those who work hard, constantly. You can't work hard to great effect unless you know what you're doing or you have someone on payroll who knows what they're doing.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
Well, even I realize that last part sounds incredibly stupid--I'd probably need some rental office space and real people to work with--but this brings me back to my point: How much business should I take in while at college?
A lot, even if you just want to be the R&D guy. University education provides a foundation; higher education is not a magic pill. At the least, you should have basic knowledge of accounting and marketing concepts, developed public speaking skills, and familiarity with strategic management.
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
The question this brings up is: Who runs the business?
A cofounder with business-savvy. You won't be the top dog, but you should never start a business for the title and all that entails. You should start a business because you have a mission, because you believe you can fulfill the as-of-yet unfulfilled needs of an established or yet-to-be established market. If you just want a paycheck, get a job; don't become an entrepreneur.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This may be very different in the USA (I wouldn't know), but over here you'd probably be wasting your time taking business at university for what you want.
Reading a good "how to run your own business" book might actually help more. You may also want to consult a tax advisor. It costs very little as long as you have little/no income, and it's definitively worth the investment.

I've worked with people who had what you'd call "business minor" at two occasions in the past. They were nice guys and they sure had studied a lot about "business, economy and stuff", but they had zero knowlege which would have been valuable or applicable for the business. It took them 6-12 months in the job to acquire that knowledge.

A couple of friends of mine founded a startup firm some 5-6 years ago. One of them was a "business major". They had a good idea, a nice looking business plan, and much to my surprise, they managed to raise 5 million euros from investors within only two months (wtf, don't ask me how!). Two years later, the money was gone, as was all of their personal equity.
I don't know, but to me, the outcome isn't really that convincing. If that had been my money, I'd puke...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You first need to determine if you really want to start and run a business. If you don't, just look for a job. You can always start a company later if feel you're ready for it.

In my experience, running a small business requires besides common sense, a lot of practical knowledge: understanding tax rules, writing proposals and contracts, networking and communication skills etc. All the disciplines found in an established company. Doing this all by yourself can be very interesting and challenging, but if you feel this is not for you, team up with others who can appreciate it and are willing to invest time finding stuff out. If formal education in the form of a business minor can help you gather some of that knowledge I'd say go for it, because sooner rather than later you will find yourself in a situation where this will be required. It's nothing that cannot be obtained by self-study, but having it presented as a course rather than hunting for it can save you a lot of time and frustration.

If you start a small enterprise with several people involved, not being the 'managing director' doesn't mean you don't 'run the company', you're still a major share holder or partner. Leaving the day to day business stuff up to someone else, while you focus your attention on the engineering or artistic part of the process is fine, but you will have to realize that as a small business owner you have to be prepared to be pretty all round, because there might be no one else that will do it for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by Splinter of Chaos
The question is about where the balance is. Should I major in business? Minor? Casually take a few courses? It's not even that hard?

The thing is, I just don't care about economy, what an entrepreneur is, and crap like that. I want to minimize my exposure and focus on what I think is important: programming, math, English literature, crap like that. In fact, I want to take as many of those classes as possible and am peeved that business is going to get in the way. That's why I want to minimize my exposure...besides getting told a bunch of crap about how great capitalism is would really piss me off.



Thats ok, you limit yourself to what your good at, and hire others to do all the bits that you aren't so good at. Its a matter of pricing everything, if you're spending 2 days doing your accounts, when a professional can do it in 1/2 a day, your better off getting the pro. in.

anyway, I think you should research running a business to some degree, find a few books to read first, and then decide upon the business major.

I get the impression that it could be a bit of a culture shock for you if you do start a business straight out of college, learning as you go is ok; but the potential to get things wrong and the consequences of getting those things wrong can be huge. (such as tax calculations, registering your company correctly, managing your wages, ensuring enough money for your employees)

I'm not sure building a website to sell games is going to bring in enough revenue either to support yourself and a small team and an office, you'll have to do some market research in order to determine the viability yourself. (this is more than just googling) You're assuming as soon as you setup your website portal its just going to "take off".

When you first embark on your business ideas, its important not to be picky about what kind of business you do. Every type of work is important, and its important you understand that you must go and find the work, not the other way around. People generally won't come to you when you first start out.

my advice, take the business course and learn the maths in your spare time. or try and do both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't learn any business in college: it's seldom useful in my experience. Instead, get a great technical level and get hired by a start-up. If you're lucky, you'll get a great wage, but the actual point of doing this is that you'll be observing up front how a start-up founder works: how he finds clients, how he finds investors, how he finds collaborators... learning by actually seeing the things in action is much more effective for business (and anything social in general) than it is for technical matters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
> How much business should I take in while at college?

College won't teach you leadership, salesmanship, and inter-personal skills. Those are needed to run a successful business. And it doesn't matter if you are the CEO or VP Engineering or Tech Lead, you need those soft skills to run the business if you want to really own that business.

My suggestion is to work in sales or customer service as a summer job, get involved in para-academic activities (investment clubs, sports teams, chess club, etc, even found one if you can't find what you like!), etc. Those types of activities will get the mileage you are looking for. If you still feel you are missing out on some more business education, you can always do an MBA a few years after you graduate.

-cb

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I can understand you don't want to "waste" time at college learning business, but that doesn't mean you don't take any business courses. It's almost certain there are courses you can enroll on (maybe even for free) outside of college. For instance, you can go to night school. This may lead to some sort of official qualification, or it may just teach you some things. You can also find books in your local library or on Amazon about all this stuff.

Going into this with no research is a bad plan, but it's quite normal for would-be company founders to have to put in long hours doing this kind of thing on top of their normal life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!