Work on your business, not in it.

Mycelium is a business education and community to help you grow your business to what you originally intended when you started it. We’ve designed the curriculum around the question:

How can you create a business that serves the rest of your life?

Among the issues we’ll address in class are:

  • How can I run a better business to create more profit and time?

  • How can I be of better service to and create more value for my customers and clients?

  • What is the life I really want? In other words, what is success?

Most other business education opportunities (see our Alternatives table here) focus on growth and expansion of the business without thinking about the greater purpose of your business: the success of you. We focus on addressing the larger questions of why you’re in business. Then we help you work ON your business, instead of IN your business. That means helping you get clear on what you ultimately want from your business and then helping you become a better entrepreneur and manager. We want to help you run a business, instead of you working harder as an employee in your business.

Curriculum + Community

All of the information, frameworks, and resources for growing a business are available online or at the library, for free. Here’s a good list. So here’s the thing. We’ve read and condensed a lot of it for the curriculum. Mycelium will save you a lot of time and energy reading these books because we’ve already done it for you.

But the real secret behind Mycelium is the community. Our curriculum is informed by the core principle of design thinking (which you’ll learn in the course):

The people closest to the challenges have the solutions.

In other words, you and fellow business owners already know the answers. We’re just putting you together to find them. In Mycelium, you’ll get a lot of ideas that you can immediately apply to your business. But more importantly, you’ll be learning with and from other peers in non-competing industries facing the same challenges you are.

They’ll give new perspectives and insights and show you your blind spots. You’ll do the same for them. You’ll help each other tackle challenges, owner to owner.

The real learning will be when these conversations happen: "Yep, I've dealt with this too and here's how I solved it..." or "I have that same challenge. Here’s what I’m considering. What about you?” Over time, your classmates’ experiences will be a rich backdrop to draw from, just as yours will be for them.

You, the business owner, are the best person to find the solution for your business.

Put another way, you’re going to have a management consultant team working on your business for 5 months. It’ll be headed by you, supported by a team of small business “experts” who will grow to understand your business intimately. At the same time, you’ll be doing the same for others, learning from how they run their businesses and get ideas from that too.

The core content

Running a business requires a diverse and necessary set of knowledge and skills. You might be good at a number of them, but until it all works together, you won’t be getting full value out of your work. Neither will your customers. Strengthen what you’re good at and fill in the gaps where you aren’t.

Organizational leadership: Defining your role as founder/owner; Defining roles in the organization and how to grow them; How to train; Workplace communication

Personal leadership: Identify strengths and weaknesses; Cultivate habits for self-improvement; Understand your unique leadership style and how it fits (or doesn’t) in your business

Business basics: What makes a business a business; What’s the economic engine of your business; 12 standard forms of value; Experimentation; “Pretotyping;” Mission, vision, values, boundaries, goals and plans

Sales & marketing: Increasing revenue and customer base through understanding your customer; Marketing myopia; Pricing as marketing; Sales as service

Decision-making: Different decision making models and appropriate contexts for each

Developing and executing strategy: Market opportunities and threats; Competitive advantage and core competencies; Differentiation; Cost leadership and vertical integration; Uncertainty and risk assessment; Exit strategies, how to sell a business

Operations: Lean, kaizen or other leapfrog approaches to optimization process improvement; Program management; Logistics, distribution, and delivery

Systems and data management: Automating and systematizing data; Learning from the data those systems generate; Systems for accounting, employee scheduling, data security

Finance and accounting: Core concepts in accounting and finance; Reading and interpreting financial documents; Forecasting & planning for the future; Creating useful budgets; Determining the best lease-vs-buy situation; Planning capital expenditure for the best improvements and expansions; Tools to measure and manage financial performance

Legal: Taxes; Contracts; Liability; Insurance; Employment law

The outcome

You may have done some of this work before, but you’ll now have a small cohort of other business owners from non-competing industries supporting you. Through the 5-month curriculum, you will:

Define your business ambition

Align your business and personal goals

Increase profitability

Work smarter with clearer priorities for yourself (and team)

Learn from and with other owners who understand your local context

Improve your decision-making and management

Align your values and core activities

Enhance your brand and attract more customers

Maximize positive impact along your value chain

Increase efficiency with systems and processes

Engage with and enhance your community

Work on challenges with supportive peers

Be accountable to and encouraged by your cohort

The process

As the small business owner, your time is precious. And limited.

The curriculum is designed to streamline and accelerate the learning and application of core knowledge and skills.

We designed the curriculum around 20 “projects” that you’ll do for your business. The projects are collated ideas and frameworks from the best business books for small business with links and videos. We summarize and explain the ideas and frameworks and then give you an assignment to apply them.

The curation and summarization of this material alone is valuable by saving you all the time choosing and reading it yourself.

But the ROI really lies in doing the assignments. Each week you’ll deepen your understanding of the ideas by responding to a prompt to create an implementation plan for your business. You won’t do this alone. Your cohort helps you absorb and apply each week’s project. Here’s how this will look each week:

  1. First you read the project and come to class ready to discuss.

  2. During class you workshop the ideas from the project and begin completing your assignment with fellow small business owners.

  3. After class, you have two days to post your response to the assignment. You essentially work as a management consultant to your own business.

  4. After that, there’s a two-day window where you receive generous feedback from your classmates and in turn, give generous feedback to them. You are getting and providing additional perspectives and feedback to improve your business.

  5. You then have one day to post your final plan: your dated milestones and tasks for how you’ll execute the improvement ideas.

  6. The cycle then repeats the following week with the next project.

The process is a lot of work. It will require you to give your time and attention to your business. And it will be worth it.

Not only will your business improve, you’ll gain new skills and capabilities invaluable in other aspects of your life.

Ready to create the business and life you want? Sign up below.

The Dalai Lama was asked “How are you able to fit in daily meditation with such a busy schedule?” He smiled and replied that on normal days he meditates for an hour in the morning. He then smiled even bigger and said that on extremely busy days, he meditates for two hours in the morning.