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Entrepreneurship Course - Please Help!

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area- Community Forum' started by Matt, Jul 16, 2017 at 3:05 PM.

  1. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member

    I'm trying to put together a course on Entrepreneurship that I will deliver in my local community. The goal of the course is to try to help explain the topics that are roadblocks for people who have great ideas, but are uncertain as how they should proceed.

    This is going to be an in person course, we can control the size of the room, but I would guess it would be more in the 20-50 person range. The course is going to be free, and the real hope from it all is that we get just one person to turn their idea into a business.

    I've talked casually with some local people about what they need, and it feels vague. As such, I wanted to get a broader mix of input so we can create something that really adds value. While I don't want to skew it too much with my thoughts (IE feel free to go anywhere with input) here's what I generally had in mind:

    4 sessions of around 1hr each.

    • Business entities and taxation (from a high level, annual view, things like LLC vs S Corp, Schedule C etc)
    • Business cash flow, expenses, payroll, bookkeeping, retirement accounts
    • Marketing: brand development, social media and building a blog
    • Case study: bootstrapping a $100 business that brings the above together

    I'd be keen to hear input on this - there's a lot of ground to cover in 4hrs, and maybe this isn't the best approach. Also, in terms of implementation, would it be possible to teach this in a 4hr course that back-to-back? I ask this as I wonder if we need to allocate time to homework assignments or to dedicate a block of time to each class to circle back to topics in some way.

    Thoughts appreciated. If logging in here is to cumbersome, I'd gladly accept a message to haguematthew1@gmail.com or in whatever social media forum you find most convenient.
     
  2. TyroneSchulase

    TyroneSchulase New Member

    Great idea, but overwhelming to most. All 4 hours are "nuts and bolts". I would suggest an hour on how to evaluate ideas, and tailoring the business approach. In other words, is the biz filling a need, or creating a need? Different models. Are you adding onto something the customer already has, or replacing it, or providing something brand new or in a new way? The best framework will not support a loser, unless it's run by the govt. So, how to ID a winner, or at least a decent competitor given a good framework...
     
  3. kristian

    kristian Level 2 Member

    Hey Matt! Great idea, sign me up. Also good input from Tyrone about the more meta type analysis. Right now I'm living it. But barely. I've had this idea kicking around for years now but with the advent of the demise of my career, I've actually started to turn semi-serious. I had a four hour course put on by a local small biz dev type org covering legal structures. Definitely useful but maybe not all 4 hours worth at this beginning stage.

    Wife also starting something. Further along than myself. Website up. Facebook group that she's been organizing for a couple years now. But not a single booking yet. Basically the marketing piece just doesn't seem to be there even though she/we kind of thought is was.

    Another thing, and I should know a bunch about this: Payment Processors. She can't get figure out the simple task of collecting payment with a form on her website!!!:mad: Undoubtedly there are paid services that can take care of this but we are a ways beyond the $100 startup already. Her ideas are pretty sound and I say that as a general critic, just ask her:).

    I guess we are struggling with cranking over the engine and having it fire.
     
  4. BrianJapan

    BrianJapan Level 2 Member

    "Ready, Fire, Aim" is a way of thinking that might benefit aspiring entrepreneurs ... especially those that suffer from the very common problem of "paralysis of analysis" ... in short, it is very rare (like never) for everything to be just right, perfect and ready, all ducks in a row, etc. when starting a new business venture ... so it is often better to get the ball rolling with some actual business action and then figure things out on the fly - adjust, recalibrate, problem solve, fix, etc. - thus the "ready, fire, aim" phrase to encapsulate the way of thinking ... getting this way of thinking (and acting!!!) across to aspiring entrepreneurs might be goal #1 in many cases ...
     
  5. AlaskanTraveler

    AlaskanTraveler Level 2 Member

    For someone interested in starting a business, one of the most important things is walking through the process of doing a business plan. I talk to a lot of people who have no idea of what their financials would look like for the first few years. What is their competitive advantage? What are their start up costs. What is their target market? How will they bring in customers (a big one)? There are a lot of great business ideas, but success is all in the execution.
     
  6. Bury

    Bury Level 2 Member

    I think most of a business's success has to do with product-market fit and validating the market demand for a product. Put more simply, a business with crappy product/market fit and good operations is going to do worse than vice versa. Here in California, I've taken classes (at community colleges and at a larger University) that extensively cover the first two operations-focused points you mentioned. However, I think that marketing, product development, and actually shipping a product are more useful and more likely to translate into actual moneymaking ventures. I haven't read these, but the first place I would look for some ideas are Steve Blank's book, Noah Kagan's wantrapreneur material, or Ramit Sethi's Earn1k series.

    Unsolicited thought, but I think your skill set (in financial and accounting services) would pair well with a startup lab/accelerator. You could market your services as being useful to people who want to focus on growing their business, since you will take care of the behind-the-scenes nuts-and-bolts for them. By being present at these events you will build trust and relationships with these future entrepreneurs.
     
  7. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member

    Good to hear that things are kicking off! For the online payment system, I use Paypal and Stripe, both work well and do the job you need. They charge a percentage of transaction, so no upfront fee.
     
  8. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps, but I'd need to hear more about why these things have stopped you opening a business.
     
  9. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member

    I disagree. I think business plans are overrated, unless we can condense that to a section of a 1hr session. Otherwise, it's just a textbook problem/answer and doesn't really apply.

    My goal, which may not have been clear, is to get a person with an idea, live. EG someone who went to culinary school and is now a stay at home mom, get them a cupcake business. The whole planney thing doesn't sit well with me, which is bothersome, as I'm supposed to be a planner.
     

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