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Entrepreneurship Course - Please Help!

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area- Community Forum' started by Matt, Jul 16, 2017.

  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.
  10. gr8t.2b.free

    gr8t.2b.free Level 2 Member

    I am an educator in a health related profession, so my thoughts are geared toward enhancing learning during your course.

    It is great that you are including a case study. It may tie everything together at the end. You might consider using the case study a bit throughout the class, unfolding the concepts while you teach them instead of only at the end.

    Also research indicates that the more interactive a class is, the deeper the learning is. Ask the class simple, easy-to-guess questions to stimulate interactivity. I use questioning frequently to keep learners' attention. It keeps them off their phones also. I always explain at the beginning of the class that I use questioning to improve their learning and that any answer is welcome, whether it is correct or not. I tell my class that sometimes I get lonely at the front and need to know that there is someone out there who cares. :) I tell them it is to improve their learning and memory and that I am not trying to see who knows what. I am not grilling them, rather hopefully inspiring them to become active learners.

    Storytelling is another hot new way to educate. Telling short stories throughout your class will help learners grasp the concepts much better than just hearing the facts. Additionally, a short story that can evoke emotion is shown to enhance memory of the concept being illustrated. Inviting attendees to share BRIEF stories of their experience related to the topic can give you valuable stories to use in subsequent classes.

    Most importantly, have some fun! The more energy you exhibit the more enthusiasm your class participants will have!
  11. gr8t.2b.free

    gr8t.2b.free Level 2 Member

    A bit more...

    Teaching your class in one 4 hour chunk may work with people's schedules best, but breaking the class up into smaller time chunks will help your class digest and understand the concepts much better.
  12. Haley

    Haley I am not a robot

    I would change the order and start with marketing, but that might just be me. For me that is the hook that would get me interested and engaged. It is either the hardest part or the part that is the most fun, depending on what day you ask me.

    I always start my businesses backwards. Jump in, figure the details out later. I would never get started if I did it any other way. I could use a course on, "You jumped in head first, how to untangle the mess" :0
  13. mec

    mec Silver Member

    Have you seen any of Cliff Ennico's videos on YouTube?

    He's a lawyer who works for small business people and gives talks in the same realm. I think it would be worth watching them to get some ideas on both content and style. He has a lot of material posted and is fairly entertaining.
  14. k0wned

    k0wned New Member

    I don't have specific thoughts on the content, but in general starting out with something that is fun and practical before diving in deeper to the nuts and bolts is the best way to keep people engaged.

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