Module 1: You and Your Business
Our opening module will orient participants to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and allow faculty, business owners, and business service providers to connect with each other while learning more about entrepreneurial skill sets and the entrepreneurial economy of the region. We will discuss the outcomes of participant’s business assessments and delve into the ideas behind how to create and act upon a growth plan. As part of our first session we will hear from a panel of entrepreneurs on their approach to growing businesses, their use of local business assistance resources, and the relationship between their business and family lives.
Module 2: Growth and Opportunities
During our second module we will explore different strategies for growing a successful small business. Participants will learn about the elements of a highly impactful growth plan and how the program’s coursework and support services will enable them to complete and implement such a plan. We will work through a series of exercises on identifying and evaluating business opportunities and conclude with a clinic designed to strengthen participant’s networking skills.
Clinic: Financial Statements
This hands-on session is designed to help participants become more comfortable with the three basic financial statements and how to understand and interpret key numbers. In preparation for module three, participants will have the opportunity to conduct a financial analysis.
Module 3: Money and Metrics
Financial literacy is essential to growing your business. You must understand your company’s financial statements, how they relate to each other, and how they can help you set goals, benchmark progress and grow your revenue and bottom line. In this module we review financial statement basics and then develop analyses and forecasting methods to plan and monitor your business growth.
Clinic: You Are the Lender
Participants will take a step into the lender’s shoes to evaluate small business loan applications. We will show participants the red flags that lenders look for, and help them prepare the necessary numbers and documents for a loan application. The clinic will also include a panel session with local lenders to answer specific small business questions.
Module 4: You Are the Leader
Most small business owners are looking for a path to become a more strategic and effective leader for their business. In this module, participants take part in a simulation to better understand their personal leadership style and receive feedback on entrepreneurial approaches to different leadership styles. Participants then navigate through a set of interactive business cases.
Knowing when to stand your ground and when to budge can make a good deal great. In this clinic participants will learn the dynamics of negotiation and develop effective strategies to create value though collaboration.
Module 5: It’s the People
High-growth small businesses frequently attribute their success to the quality and dedication of the people they employ. This module will help participants to hire, develop, and retain talented individuals who can help them grow their businesses. We use a number of exercises to explore the role of organizational culture and human capital management on jumpstarting business growth and then work with participants to incorporate new practices in the design and implementation of their business growth plans.
Local attorneys will discuss the basics of employment law and advise small business owners on how to protect themselves during the hiring and firing process. Participants will also have the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with an attorney to address their current legal questions.
Module 6: Marketing and Sales
The management of the whole marketing system, including sales/selling, is a critical aspect of business growth. This module focuses on understanding the nature of customer relations, markets, and the competition. In partnership with local and national business service providers, we recap the fundamentals of sales and marketing and then explore various international and governmental procurement opportunities. This module includes exercises that allow participants to improve their personal selling skills and a panel to discuss social media-based marketing.
Module 7: Strategic Growth Through Operations
Small business owners frequently lament that they do not know how to effectively implement their growth strategies because “everything needs to be done at once.” The final modules of the 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum help participants to organize and sequence the various aspects of their growth plans to prepare for successful implementation. This module emphasizes operations, including work flows and logistics, to help participants better analyze what their businesses are, what they can be, and how to bridge that gap.
Module 8: Being Bankable
In this module, we review the different types of financing available, discuss the steps to obtain financial capital through each, and help participants understand which funding sources are most appropriate for their businesses and how they can become more bankable. Fundamental business valuation techniques are also examined as a possible metric to assess a company’s growth prospects. This module will be facilitated and led by a panel of local bankers and financial service providers
Module 9: The Big Finish
Realizing that entrepreneurship does not have to be a lonely endeavor can be a freeing experience for small business owners. In this session we introduce the role of external business advisors (e.g. mentors, consultants, advisory boards) and explore best practices for accessing and implementing their advice. The module concludes with a panel of external advisors who will describe their services and interact with participants. During the final session of the 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum, participants will have the opportunity to present their growth plans and receive feedback from their business advisors and peers as they hone and prepare to implement their strategies. We also will discuss the role of small businesses in the regional economy and ways in which participants might assume leadership roles in strengthening the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem moving forward.