John R Castle
Two -course sequence with ENTRE 476. Explores the challenges/requirements of transforming an idea into a business. Emphasizes developing business concepts/strategy, marshalling resources, proving the business model, and creating strategic plans for growth. Students are required to participate in the business plan competition held the following quarter. Prerequisite: ENTRE 370.
This course is for students wanting to learn how to evaluate new business ideas and the potential to build successful companies around them. It provides a rigorous and realistic experience in the process necessary to prepare a business plan that will attract investors to your venture. The plan may be for starting a new business, or for buying, growing or franchising an existing business. The principles apply as well to “intrapreneurs” who are creating new business lines within larger enterprises. While the course reviews the basic entrepreneurial process, students are expected to show the passion and commitment required of entrepreneurs when they defend their ideas to higher management, invited investors, and business analysts.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The course will emphasize collection and organization of the fundamental information necessary to prove the viability of a business idea and establish that it can become a self-sustaining company. There will be heavy emphasis on knowing the customers intimately, understanding the external environment and how it can affect your business and careful analysis of all the potential competitors. Your products and support services should be designed around the customers’ needs and should use your strengths to develop a convincing competitive advantage. The plan must thoroughly explain how all these factors have been taken into consideration in designing your business strategy. Finally all these elements must be reflected in your financial projections.
You should have a business concept to develop or otherwise demonstrate to the instructor that you are sufficiently experienced and motivated to meet the standards of this rigorous business planning process. If you do not have a business idea in mind, you will be introduced to outside companies that are seeking help with their business plan and may choose one of them. For students already involved in a business, this course offers a good opportunity to refine your business model and increase the chances for success.
Class assignments and grading
This is not a theory class. Many parts of this class are non-structured, and will require extensive contact with the outside business world. Occasional lectures and guest speakers on important topics will supplement the independent preparation of a business plan suitable for presentation to investors. Students must be self-motivated and willing to work in small teams or on their own.
Grades are 70% on the quality, content and organization of the business plan, and 30% participation in class discussion.