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Introduction to Business

Preparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills

Introduction to BusinessPreparing for Tomorrow's Workplace Skills

  1. After working in software development with a major food company for 12 years, you are becoming impatient with corporate “red tape” (regulations and routines). You have an idea for a new snack product for nutrition-conscious consumers and are thinking of starting your own company. What entrepreneurial characteristics do you need to succeed? What other factors should you consider before quitting your job? Working with a partner, choose one to be the entrepreneurial employee and one to play the role of his or her current boss. Develop notes for a script. The employee will focus on why this is a good idea—reasons they will succeed—and the employer will play devil’s advocate to convince him or her that staying on at the large company is a better idea. Then switch roles and repeat the discussion. (Information, Interpersonal)
  2. What does it really take to become an entrepreneur? Find out by interviewing a local entrepreneur or researching an entrepreneur you’ve read about in this chapter or in the business press. Get answers to the following questions, as well as any others you’d like to ask:
    • How did you research the feasibility of your idea?
    • How did you develop your vision for the company?
    • How long did it take you to prepare your business plan?
    • Where did you obtain financing for the company?
    • Where did you learn the business skills you needed to run and grow the company?
    • What are the most important entrepreneurial characteristics that helped you succeed?
    • What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome?
    • What are the most important lessons you learned by starting this company?
    • What advice do you have for would-be entrepreneurs?
    (Information, Interpersonal, Systems)
  3. A small catering business in your city is for sale for $250,000. The company specializes in business luncheons and small social events. The owner has been running the business for four years from her home but is expecting her first child and wants to sell. You will need outside investors to help you purchase the business. Develop questions to ask the owner about the business and its prospects, as well as a list of documents you want to see. What other types of information would you need before making a decision to buy this company? Summarize your findings in a memo to a potential investor that explains the appeal of the business for you and how you plan to investigate the feasibility of the purchase. (Information, Interpersonal)
  4. Research various types of assistance available to women and minority business owners. Call or visit the nearest SBA office to find out what services and resources it offers. Contact trade associations such as the National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO), the National Alliance of Black Entrepreneurs, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Call these groups or use the internet to develop a list of their resources and how a small-business owner could use them. (Information, Interpersonal, Technology)
  5. Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur or small-business owner? You can find many online quizzes to help you figure this out. The Success website offers a quiz to determine whether you have an entrepreneurial mindset at What did your results tell you, and were you surprised by what you learned? (Information, Technology)
  6. Team Activity Your class decides to participate in a local business plan competition. Divide the class into small groups, and choose one of the following ideas:

    • A new computer game based on the stock market
    • A company with an innovative design for a skateboard
    • Travel services for college and high school students

    Prepare a detailed outline for the business plan, including the objectives for the business and the types of information you would need to develop product, marketing, and financing strategies. Each group will then present its outline for the class to critique. (Information, Interpersonal, Systems)

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