Curriculum

B.O.S.S. Curriculum

Introduction/Orientation

Session 1

April 4th

Intro
Students will learn the course goals and business basics. Instructors and associates will be introduced. Students will complete various assessments to determine the status of their business and lay foundation for the class.

Concept

Session 2

April 4th

Dream Articulation & Assessment
Some idea or dream has caused each student to seek knowledge and assistance.   Formulating that vision and assessing the factors controlling the development of that dream will be discussed here. Students will order free credit reports for use in the next class.

Session 3

April 6th

Credit Overview
The role of debt, credit and credit reporting in business will be explained along with various issues in credit reporting. Students will create D & B accounts. Students will analyze their own credit reports and embark on a credit repair/improvement strategy.

Session 4

April 6th

Seed Financing
These are generally non-business early stage sources of funds and will be examined to determine the need and availability.

Session 5

April 11th

Build vs. Buy
Some students may want to consider buying rather than building a business. Others may have purchased franchises or might be thinking about franchising to expand. Students will learn the differences between franchising and licensing and the benefits and disadvantages of each. Students will have an opportunity to talk with a franchise developer and several franchise owners.

Planning

Session 6

April 11th

Business Plan
Students will learn the 3 uses of, or 3 types of, a business plan including the essential elements of each of them. Over the remainder of the course students will build their own plans including a marketing plan, a finance plan, an exit strategy and pro forma financial statements.

Session 7

April 12th

Product & Service
Students will assess their products and services with an eye towards understanding the characteristics to accentuate relative to competition. Every business provides some service and so that will be discussed relative to payment, return and other service policies. Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) will be undertaken.

Session 8

April 12th

Business Model
Business models consider the various ways to make money. Should the business merely charge for its product, offer a subscription, bill by the hour, or use a flat fee. The endless possibilities will be discussed.

Session 9

April 18th

USP's, Branding, and Names
Topics will include USPs, branding, and names. Students will determine their own “unique selling proposition” (USP) which will summarize their position relative to their competition.

Session 10

April 18th

Accelerators, Incubators, Sweat Equity Partners
One way to minimize funding requirements is to get some service providers to furnish assistance in exchange for partial ownership in the business. This approach will be discussed.

Building a Foundation

Session 11

April 20th

Entity Selection
Students will become well-versed in the choices of entities for the conduct of business. Each student will complete the paperwork to form the entity they select as well as the supporting documents such as Bylaws or Operating Agreement. Students will open accounts at the various government agencies so that they will end up with a fully functioning business entity complete with a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) and everything necessary to conduct business.

Session 12

April 20th

Government Assistance
Many businesses face adversity from the beginning because of some economic disadvantage and this class will show how those negatives can be turned into positives by acquiring a “disadvantaged certification.” The status allows businesses the opportunity to obtain set aside contracts or get preferential treatment in securing work. Grants, Hubzones and free local services will also be discussed.

Building a Framework

Session 13

April 25th

Technology
Computers, cell phones, mobile apps, GPS, “the cloud,” “the square,” and many other innovations have transformed the way business is conducted around the world. Students will learn many of the benefits and the thinking behind them. Critical Path Method is explained. Client/customer relationship management (CRM) software tools will be discussed.

Session 14

April 25th

Building a Team
While the entrepreneur is the focus of every new business, no enterprise operates in a vacuum. Consequently, to implement the entrepreneur’s plan, a team of counselors. and practitioners will be required such as: a business consultant, an accountant, an insurance agent, several attorneys, a banker, a payroll processor and possibly a coach. To this list you might add several valuable helpers such as a real estate agent, a business broker, a grant writer and so on. Students will learn that the nature of their team will depend on the business, their own expertise, their budget and the skills of preexisting partners. Human resource issues as well as Employees vs. subcontractors will be explained.

Session 15

April 26th

Marketing Strategy and Plans
Everyone markets whether it is themselves they “sell” or their company’s products or services. Accordingly, the basic concepts of marketing will be explained including the expanded 5 P’s, product, price, place, promotion and positioning. Students will develop a marketing plan for their business which will become a key component of their business plan.

Session 16

April 26th

Sales Overview
Sales are the backbone of every business and this class will explain how sales fit into the larger functions within the business including marketing, fulfillment, customer satisfaction and payment systems.

Session 17

May 2nd

Sales Process
The sales funnel will be explained in detail. Prospects become qualified leads which turn into appointments which turn into sales yielding referrals, cross-sales, up-sales & repeat sales.

Create Your Protective Measures

Session 18

May 2nd

Contracts, Compliance, Licensing, Insurance
No matter what business you are in there are numerous rules to follow or avoid. This class will prepare students for the most prevalent compliance issues and discuss ways to minimize their impact. The basics of contracts and other legal issues will be explained. Students will learn how business insurance is fundamentally different than consumer insurance and develop an approach for acquiring it. Various types of insurance will be discussed including liability insurance, key man, buy-sell, commercial vehicle, and business income.

Session 19

May 4th

Intellectual Property and Trademarks
Patents, copyrights and the like will be discussed along with non registration as a means to protect intellectual property.

Build Your Systems

Session 20

May 4th

Communications, Systems, Manuals, Documentation
Creating systems and documenting them is the key to having others help you in business. While certain things must be documented by law, many are voluntary. Work flow processes are very important to avoiding mistakes and streamlining productivity. Students will learn how to integrate their business-specific processes into the overall operations of the business including prospecting, selling, delivering, billing, accepting payment and following up and/or re-selling.

Session 21

May 9th

Financial Statements, Ratios, and Milestones
To run a business, an owner needs to know about financial statements & ratios and what various milestones mean. This class explains the various performance indicators including how to interpret the findings.

Session 22

May 9th

Taxation
Students will learn of the various taxes that affect business and ways to minimize the burden. Students will also learn of opportunities that some tax policies create and ways to take advantage.

Long Term Contingency Plan

Session 23

May 11th

Business Continuity Plan
Every business owner needs to consider how his business will continue if he is unavailable to work, if his shop burns down or there is a major weather disturbance. Most of a disaster plan includes data backup and access when normal systems break down.

Session 24

May 11th

Exit Strategies and Business Valuation
How to structure and name your business is somewhat dependent on how you plan to exit. Should you sell, turn over to a relative or workers, or franchise? Each option will be examined creating insight into what should be done now. Building a business involves creating value in ownership. Consequently every business owner should be familiar with the valuation methods so he can maximize the value of the business over time.

Session 25

May 16th

Accounting and Quickbooks
Accounting is the language of business and students will need to become adept at creating and reading financial statements including the Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash Flow which are essential to operating a business. Students will create their own accounting system based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles with the aid of instructors.

Long Term Financing

Session 26

May 16th

Financing Overview
Medium, long term or permanent financing may take various forms and each will be discussed by the various financiers. These will include banks, asset-based and angel investors.

Session 27

May 18th

Pro Forma Financials
Pro Forma’s are forward-looking financials that bring numbers to a business plan which can then be used to monitor progress and assess the precision of the plan so that on-the-fly adjustments may be made.

Session 28

May 18th

Business Plan Review
Students will determine what gaps remain in their marketing plan, finance plan, exit strategy and pro forma financial statements.

Session 29

May 23rd

Pitching and Financing your Dream
Students will learn about the various options to fund a business including bank loans, venture capital, factoring, A/R financing and the use of credit cards. Students will have an opportunity to talk with various funding sources to create a plan for financing their own businesses.

Finalize Public View and Start Up

Session 30

May 23rd

Internet Marketing
The internet has become such a significant factor in business that it now commands frontline attention of its own. Accordingly, students will learn how the internet might be used to enhance their business and what pitfalls to avoid.

Session 31

May 24th

Social Media Marketing
These low cost methods to build a business are discussed so that entrepreneurs can focus on the best use of their time. Since these channels are generally local they may also serve as sources for team members and lead generators.

Session 32

May 24th

Closing and Graduation
In this session, students will share the issues that are holding them back so that they may complete all of their assignments and prepare for opening day. Final Q&A, presentation of financing awards, and certificates of completion of the class will be presented. Students may "pitch" their ideas to financiers.