11 ways schools are run like a business (MSBO style) – SCN Encourager

This quick tour of the 2015 MSBO Exhibitors Hall proves it.

cobo hallThink BIG.

Think Cobo Hall.

Think Detroit.

Now think BIGGER.

It took a “grand scale” event last week to remind me about the monumental size of public education’s combined financial and logistical operations.

What an economic driver in our state!

And we are fortunate to have good business managers, facility directors, safety specialists, HR chiefs, transportation supervisors, school nutrition experts, and all of their respective department team members ensuring that the teaching and learning mission of our school districts proceed without interruption day-by-day.

Whenever you hear someone say that schools shouldn’t be run like a business, resist the urge to debate the point.

Thanks to the dedicated professionals in MSBO, our schools are better run than most businesses.

In just a few hours at its 2015 Convention, I found these “additional” 11 connections which directly tie to the “business side” of MSBO and our school operations.

Proof #1 – A gigantic hanging banner *

MSBO flag

 * If you’re not using poster board and markers for your signs, you’re operating like a business.

Proof #2 – MSBO Exhibition booths *


* If lots of people are trying to sell you products and services, you’re operating like a business.

Proof #3 – Competition *


* If someone else is trying to lure away your customers, you’re operating like a business. 

Proof #4 – Real-world financial choices *


* If you’re looking at retirement and insurance plans; Sorry, you’re operating like a business.

Proof #5 – Tracking down what’s yours *

AR collections

* If you need help “collecting” what’s due you, you’re operating like a business. 

Proof #6 – A promo gimmick *



* If you’re able to get “free” caricatures from a vendor, you’re operating like a business. (And FYI – this artist travels throughout Michigan…)

Proof #7 – the Michigan Lottery *


* If you wonder about the actual ROI for schools from the lottery, you’re operating like a business.

Proof #8 – the Government as partner *

atty Gnrl

* If you’re “joint venturing” with elected leaders, you’re operating like a business.

Proof #9 – No shortage of tough issues *


* If products and services like this make you feel sad but still tempt you, you’re operating like a business.

Proof #10 – Localized wheeling & dealing *

Holland Bus

* I work for Holland Public Schools. I’m sure our business manager negotiates “home town discounts” wherever he can. That’s operating like a business.

Proof #11 – Taking care of the top priorities *

toilet partitions

* If you’re concerned about the comfort of people who are doing “their daily business,” then you are operating like a business.

In case you doubt the validity of these 11 examples, note that there were many banks, bond underwriters, classroom furniture, and construction companies set up inside of the MSBO Exhibition Hall also.

Our connections with them provide excellent examples of how schools operate as highly effective and efficient businesses, too.

But using them for this Encourager would’ve been too easy.

Even for me!



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