Which Business Stream Should I Choose?
Aside from figuring out the best way to build a product or service that is ready for market, all businesses primarily run off of two things: Marketing and Accounting.
Back when I was going into my third year of university at UOIT*, I remember having to make the daunting decision of “which business stream should I choose?” Though there was always the general Entrepreneurship stream, which offered no direct specialization, the primary categories offered in the realm of business studies were: Marketing, Accounting, Human Resources (HR), and Finance.
This decision can often feel like a big one, as choosing which of the four streams to follow will ultimately direct the course of your entire life, and it really got me thinking back then—“what do each of these streams do, anyways?”
Marketing, “The driver of business.”
In order for any organization to run, it needs marketing. Marketing is the quintessential tool for “getting butts in seats”; or, rather, landing-a-sale. No sale, no revenue, no income, no business, foreclosure—Chapter 13. Marketing is the spearhead of all operations and can range from anything having to do with the look-and-feel of a business card, to the slogan your organization operates under. It is the customer-facing side of the operation. And as an interesting note: Steve Jobs wasn’t actually a technician; he was a visionary, he was a revolutionary—he was a marketer!
Accounting, “The sustainer of business.”
What do you do with the money that you already have? Accounting is the lifeblood of all business and helps to ensure that a business keeps running smoothly. Now, accounting isn’t the spearhead, like marketing is (because it doesn’t bring in any money), but it does let you know how to spend your funds and invested capital wisely. I believe all business persons need to know at least some level of accounting, or else they will forever be lost to the world of expensive, bad-decision making.
Human Resources (HR), “The internal sounding board.”
Need a new hire? Go to HR. Have an internal dispute? Go to HR. Someone call you a bad name? Go to HR. HR is the catch-all for all internal growth and struggle from a personnel level. Often times, HR duties can be lumped in with Accounting in order to save on costs, but ultimately, HR is there to ensure that everyone is having a good time and to also support you whenever you need new players on the field.
Finance, “The money-maker off of your excess-monies.”
What do you do with your excess funds? Instead of reinvesting them back into your business (which would typically be Accounting’s job to figure out), you could always take your excess funds and use that to make more money! Of the four streams, this was actually my least-favourite to have to learn. Not only did it deal in the realm of the fugazi*, but it also required a high level of mathematics that I was not very interested in learning, nor very good at. Unless you’re a math major with a penchant for business, this is a tough stream to get into—in my opinion—especially if you want to make lots of money. Finance requires a high level of forecasting, best left to geniuses who are typically suited to be actuaries. Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of Finance (or maybe that’s just because I didn’t get it? Haha)…
In sum, each of the above streams are the four major pillars to any business. And of the four, I’m sure you know by now which one I chose. However, it may surprise you to find out that I actually debated heavily between Marketing and Accounting for my specialization, as these two are the primary components to making any business successful.
In the end, I chose Marketing because it allowed me to “make money off of my art”, while simultaneously allowing me to be the spearhead in all strategic decision-making for businesses. However, for all of you would-be Marketers out there, I implore you to either minor in Accounting or fill a ton of your electives (like I did) with Accounting classes. Because, at the end of the day, Accounting allows you to make those more accurate-business decisions which will be better grounded in the reality of the situation—financial literacy is key.
Also, if you’re getting into Marketing, be sure to take a few Psychology courses or read books on Psychology in your spare time. I still remember the day in my Hi-Tech Marketing class when I asked my professor if we would ever see a merger between Marketing and Psychology, because Marketing seemed to deal more with people’s emotions than the statistics being taught to us in class. To which he replied, “everyone, it seems that Urvil is just ahead of his time.” I was… guess who’s laughing now.
-now, go watch Inception.