A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that the interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Lesson 01 - A Strategy for Success
In this first lesson, you will meet several leading entrepreneurs and determine if you have similar passions and skill sets. You will discover that business plans are not just for funding your dream, but for guiding it along the path to success (as you choose to define it).
Lesson 02 - Defining Your Business
Now, you will start to mold your business. You will develop a vision and a mission for your enterprise. You will define and refine your product or service, and you will uncover your niche. This is the fun part of the journey—your only limitation is your imagination.
Lesson 03 - The Role of the Customer
This lesson will focus on the customer. Successful companies focus not on the products and services that they offer, but on the customers that they serve—on many levels. You will learn to position your company to be customer-centric, and how to move that customer from satisfied to loyal (and perhaps even an advocate for your business).
Lesson 04 - Structuring Your Organization
In this lesson, you will structure your organization so it's in the best position to provide your product or service to your targeted customers. You will discover the role that change plays in your entrepreneurial evolution. Change is good—it shows that you're thinking.
Lesson 05 - The Marketing Plan
This lesson explores the plan within the plan—the marketing section of your business plan. You will also discover the features and benefits of your product or service, and you will begin the ongoing task of market research. This is where you can differentiate your product or service from that of your competition.
Lesson 06 - The Competition
This lesson will explore three separate areas of marketing. First, you will learn about your competitors so that you can better position yourself and discover just how solid your business ideas are. Then, you will address one of the most difficult issues of new business—pricing. Finally, you will become a SWOT agent—analyzing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Lesson 07 - Marketing in Action
In this lesson, you will join a panel of outstanding marketing, public relations, and graphics experts who are also entrepreneurs and believe in the power of networking. You will explore graphic design, logos, image, public relations, and guerrilla marketing, as well as marketing in action.
Lesson 08 - Operations and Manufacturing
This lesson tackles operations and manufacturing concerns.
Lesson 09 - Understanding the Finance Section (Part I)
This lesson takes a bird's eye view of the financial section of a business plan. You will also briefly explore the capital equipment list, the balance sheet, and break-even analysis.
Lesson 10 - Understanding the Finance Section (Part II)
In this lesson, you will discover three additional financial components of the plan. You will explore the projected income statement, cash flow, and historical financial records. Be sure to take some time to explore the Supplemental Links area (in this lesson and in all the others) for outstanding online resources.
Lesson 11 - Financing Your Business
This lesson continues the focus on money, but from a different perspective than in the previous two. You will focus on funding and financing opportunities, and by the end, you should have a better understanding of financing. You will also find out where to locate traditional, and not so traditional, sources of funding.
Lesson 12 - The Final Document
In the final lesson, you will end one journey while beginning another. First, you will write an outstanding executive summary. You will receive a few important document formatting tips, and you will learn what supporting documents you should add to your final business plan. You now hold all the keys to the doors along your entrepreneurial path. Journey well.