Entrepreneurship 1B: Make Your Idea a Reality
Career Pathway Course Units
Unit 1: The Business Plan
Starting a new business is an exciting time! Entrepreneurs get energized by the prospect of embarking on a new business venture. But how do you turn your business idea into a reality? In this course, you’ll master the steps of this creation process, and by the time you conclude this course, you will have a completed plan for your new business idea. Working through this course will guide you to complete each section of a business plan by customizing it for your own business concept. By following the activities outlined throughout the course, you’ll assemble a plan that includes all major parts of a new business venture. This will produce a valuable document that you can use to help you start your business, and it will continue to help you along the way as you reevaluate markets, trends, and your business performance.
Unit 2: The Risks in Business
There are always risks when starting a new business venture. Regardless of the type of business you intend to start, there will always be risks, challenges, and the possibility your business will not succeed. Sometimes business risks are internal and within your power, but often the risks are external–that is, they’re completely outside your ability to control. Entrepreneurs work hard to identify the biggest risks to business success and then make plans to minimize the potential impact of those risks on the business. Because entrepreneurs can never completely avoid risk, we need to focus on how best to manage those risks, and we need to determine how best to deal with other challenges that come along with owning and operating a business.
Unit 3: Growing the Business with People
To this point, you’ve successfully launched your business and are working toward achieving your business goals. Now you must turn your focus to growing the company and elevating your financial objectives. In order to grow, most entrepreneurs need to add talented people to their teams. This important activity relies on recruiting, organizing, training, and keeping excellent employees. This can give your business a competitive advantage over other companies. To achieve this, there are important human resources and management practices that will help you to build a strong team and to grow your business. By focusing on the most valuable resource of your business—people—you can boost your productivity and your company’s performance.
Unit 4: Marketing the Business
For a small business to achieve success, it must connect with its customers. Marketing is the part of business that focuses on getting your company’s offerings and messages to the people who buy them. By using different media and messages to communicate, you can connect with your market and keep customers informed. In today’s competitive business environment, effective marketing is necessary and, without it, no small business can succeed. A strong marketing effort can create loyalty with your customers and give you an edge over the competition. There are several different components to marketing that will be covered in this course, but they’ll all focus on the most important person in your business—the customer.
Unit 5: Marketing Your Products
People purchase products to address their specific needs and wants. An important part of marketing is managing what products you offer to your target customers—and how. These offerings may be tangible products or intangible services, both of which provide value to customers—either to fulfill a need, satisfy a want, or both. Marketing a product includes a wide range of activities, including development, launch, and ensuring people understand what it is and how to use it. But efforts to market the product do not stop after the product becomes available to customers. The process continues through the stages of a product’s life cycle. From idea to launch and beyond, product marketing is a key part of the small business marketing function.
Unit 6: Pricing, Selling, & Distribution
The final steps to getting your products or services to your customers include pricing, selling, and distribution. Your price sets the standard for your product or service in the marketplace, and it also determines both your profit levels and competitiveness. The selling process moves your customer interactions from initial interest to point of purchase, and that sales process requires that you build a team of people that can lead this specific set of activities. And finally, you need to get your product into the hands of your customers, which is now possible in more ways than ever before. The challenge for all entrepreneurs resides in selecting the channels and partners that will ensure your products get to customers both quickly and at the lowest possible costs to the company.
Unit 7: Marketing Research & Planning
Have you ever participated in a company’s marketing research efforts? Whether you completed an online survey, “liked” a company or its products on social media, or posted a hotel or restaurant review, you may have participated in business research. Every time we contribute our opinions, the input helps those businesses answer questions about what their customers want and need. The research process, which includes information from many sources, allows businesses to collect data, perform analyses, and then make well-informed business decisions backed by evidence. The questions you choose to ask, the people you choose to ask, and the type of data you collect are the keys to your company’s ability to discover valuable insights about its market. Research is an important contributor to the company marketing plan detailing the strategies and activities used to market products and services to customers.
Unit 8: Your Personal Finances
At this point, your business plan is ready to go and you’re excited to launch your new entrepreneurial venture! Now you need to find the money to begin. Before you can think about money to start the business, you must assess your personal financial situation. This is important for people of all ages and levels of income. Each of us is faced with the same types of questions and challenges. How much money is coming in? Where does our money go? How will we pay off debt? And will we be able to afford to purchase a car or house someday? Being able to create a solid plan to address these questions starts with learning about how personal finances work. This will better prepare you to find the capital to start your new business.