One of the earlier classes we took at Millikin University was “Business Creation” or “BU 100”. The entire premise of the course was to come up with a unique business venture and then create a detailed business plan.
Time Frame & Structure
The course was offered in the spring semester of our sophomore year. Initially, the professor utilized the beginning of the course to provide a short introduction opportunity for students to become familiar with each other. The introduction allowed the students to get comfortable with any of the classmates they did not already know. It was beneficial because the entire class was focused on a group project. Following the introductions, we formed groups of 4-5 students and began to come up with ideas for our business plans. Our team came up with the concept of a water taxi service that would operate within large harbors in Chicago. Once we clarified our business idea, we began to dive into the logistics of the business.
A business plan has very distinct information in areas from marketing, operations, accounting, management, and finance. Our marketing strategy heavily focused on phone app promotion, as well as marketing our service as visually and noticeable as possible. Operations weren’t very complicated because the service was straight forward. Simply put – we would have a handful of boat drivers who would also perform maintenance on the fleet of taxis. Accounting and finance would forecast how much capital we would need to acquire the funds to cover the start-up and operational expenses. We were required to have specific numbers, so after extensive research, we created a profit and loss listing costs to the smallest detail. Management was also rather simplistic because we decided to keep our staff small. We divided the four partners into different executive positions – CEO, CTO, CFO, and CMO.
Once we had all of our information sorted and finalized, the end project was a roughly 40-page business plan within a word document. We were also required to present this business plan to a group of ‘investors.’ The ‘investors’ comprised of professors from the Tabor School of Business at Millikin. Along with a dynamic word document, we put together a presentation. Our presentation consisted of power point slides as well as a demonstration of the website & app we developed for the business. After about 30 minutes, we delivered our presentation and had to field questions from the investors. After the Q&A portion of the presentation, we officially finished with an entire semester’s work devoted to the business plan.
Opinions & Highlights
Once we completed the business plan, we learned a lot about the various components that are needed to create and run a business on a day to day basis. This project forced teams to dive into different job fields even if it wasn’t something they were planning on doing in a real career. Having knowledge about other departments in the business environment is essential because making decisions in a particular department affects the entire company. Understanding all the areas of business allows you to see the bigger picture, which in turn allows you to determine the needs better within your field.