The 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum is designed to help entrepreneurs develop the skills needed to recognize new opportunities. Classroom activities are complemented by an integrated portfolio of business services, including one-on-one business advice, legal and financial clinics, and networking opportunities.
The core content of the curriculum is outlined below, and addresses the particular needs of small business owners in the greater New Orleans region:
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The opening module introduces participants to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and allows business owners, faculty, and business service providers to connect with each other while learning entrepreneurial skills and discussing the economy in their region. The module includes reviews of participant business assessment outcomes and explores ideas on how to create and act on a growth plan. As part of the first module, a panel of entrepreneurs discusses their approaches to growing their businesses, their uses of local assistance resources, and how they maintain balance between their businesses and family lives.
During the second module, participants explore a number of strategies for growing a successful small business. They learn about the elements of a highly impactful growth plan and how the program's coursework and support services enable them to complete and implement such a plan. Participants work through a series of exercises on identifying and evaluating business opportunities, and conclude with a clinic designed to strengthen networking skills.
Financial literacy is essential to growing a business. This includes understanding financial statements, how they relate to each other, and how they can help a company to set goals, benchmark progress, and grow its revenue and bottom line. In this module, participants review financial statement basics as well as develop analyses and forecasting methods to plan and monitor business growth.
Many small business owners are looking for a path to become a more strategic and effective leader. In this module, participants take part in a simulation to better understand their personal leadership styles and examine different approaches to leadership. In addition, participants explore a set of interactive business cases and hone their negotiation skills.
High-growth small businesses frequently attribute their success to the quality and dedication of the people they employ. This module helps participants hire, develop, and retain talented individuals who can help their businesses succeed. The module uses a number of exercises to explore the role of organizational culture and human capital management to jump-start business growth. In addition, this module helps participants impelemt these successful practices in their own business plans.
Excelling in marketing and sales is critical to business growth. This module focuses on understanding customer relationships, target markets, and the competition. In partnership with local and national business service preoviders, participants study fundamentals of sales and marketing and explore various international and governmental procurement opportunities. This module also includes exercises to help participants improve their personal selling skills and as well as a panel of experts to discuss social-media marketing.
Small business owners often lament the difficulty of implementing growth strategies because "everything needs to be done at once." The remaining modules of the 10,000 Small Businesses program help participants organize and sequence the various aspects of their growth plans. This module emphasizes operations, including workflow and logistics, to help participants analyze what their businesses are, what they can be, and how to bridge the gap.
This module looks at the different type of financing available to small businesses and which funding sources are most appropriate for participants' businesses. Participants learn how to obtain financial capital and become more "bankable." Fundamental busienss valuation techniques are also examined as a possible metric to asses a company's growth prospects. This module is facilitated and led by a panel of local bankers and financial service providers.
Realizing that entrepreneurship does not have to be a lonely endeavor can be a freeing experience for small business owners. This module introduces the role of external business advisors (e.g., mentors, consultants, advisory boards) and explores best practices for accessing and implementing their advice. This module concludes with a panel of external advisors who describe their services and interact with participants.
During the final module of the 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum, participants 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. Participants discuss the role of small businesses in the regional economy and the ways in which they might assume leadership roles to help strengthen the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem moving forward.
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HOW TO APPLY: Click the Download Application button, complete the brief information form, download the full application, and submit the completed application and required supplemental documents to 10,000 Small Businesses at Delgado Community College. NOTE: The online information form is NOT the full application.