How Good Business Plans Increase Your Enterprise’s Pobability of Success

It is easy to write a Business Plan but difficult to write a good one that will help you raise debt or equity financing for your enterprise, act as a guide for everyday management of your business, create a road map for strategy and set standards to measure future performance. A good business plan acts as a filter to assist the entrepreneur in making future decisions which will alter the course of the enterprise. As an entrepreneur you do not just write a business plan once and put it in a drawer. Business is a dynamic process and the future is a moving target. Customers, competitors, products and technology constantly changes and so your business plan needs constant revision.

A successful business plan must be customized based on its purpose and based on the industry. The topics and emphasis of a business plan used to borrow money for an established green grocery store will be different from the topics and emphasis for a business plan used to raise equity from family and friends for a social media start up. It is important to remember that a business plan is dependent on good execution.

A good business plan will help you more realistically assess critical risks and evaluate the assumptions your revenue and cash flow forecast are based on. Business plans help the entrepreneur identify weaknesses, the action and time table for dealing with them, and also your enterprise’s strengths/core capabilities and the action necessary to take advantage of them. A well written business plan makes you think strategically and tactically about not only how to create operational excellence but an efficient and effective marketing and sales program. A business plan forces you to test your ideas with pro forma cash flows to see whether the risk is worth the reward.

This was a special guest post by Professor Robert Calvin, an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship Marketing at the University of Chicago School of Business. Learn more by taking his course, Writing a Successful Business Plan, today here!

Posted in Partners, Professor Posts | Comments Off

Make history while you learn history


World History from Princeton’s Jeremy Adelman to Be Taught in a Connected Global Classroom That Anyone in the World Can Join

For the first time in history, it will be possible to study world history in a global classroom, working with learners from different cultures and social backgrounds.

Princeton professor Jeremy Adelman will offer the first Global History Lab synchronously on the Princeton campus and as a MOOC on

“I am very excited about this course,” says Prof Adelman. ” While I have taught MOOCs several times before, now I will have an opportunity to learn from others! One theme of the course is that events and processes of the past mean different things to different people – what better way to capture these perspectives than in group labs, where students will collaborate on projects and share their insights and findings with the rest.”

The course gives learners the opportunity to form teams with their peers all over the world and work with primary historical materials to create new shared understandings of our shared history.

The case-based method of instruction applied to history, the interaction between Princeton students and learners from around the world, and the use of innovative new collaborative learning technologies are all part of Princeton’s deep commitment to student learning and community.

“Teaching the Global History Lab synchronously to students on-campus and around the world allows us to expand our commitment to student learning,” says Jeff Himpele, Director for Teaching Initiatives and Programs. “Designed to shift the focus from instructor knowledge to student engagement with history, this new collaborative online environment allows us to implement decades of classroom research demonstrating that strategies for intensifying student engagement increase student success, and it offers us new possibilities for improving classroom education at Princeton.”

Are you ready to make history? Sign up today!

Posted in Stories | Comments Off

3D Printing on NovoEd! – Guest Post by Mark Cotteleer, Research Director, Deloitte

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 12.09.56 PM

Do you know how additive manufacturing will impact your business?

By now, nearly everyone has heard the term 3D printing, or to use the more technically accurate term, additive manufacturing (AM). A quick search on Google brings up more than 70,000 news articles on this intriguing set of technologies. While it is fun to talk about printing cakes, spaceships, and even new noses, it can be hard to separate the reality from the hype and understand how businesses can use this technology to support success. During our MOOC, 3D opportunity: The course on additive manufacturing for business leaders, we aim to facilitate that discussion and prepare course participants to lead that discussion in their organizations.

AM is an important technical innovation with roots that date more than 30 years. So, why has the strategic relevance risen sharply? In recent years, AM technologies have reached a level of maturity that increasingly allows for the existence of value-added commercial applications. Some see AM as an innovation driver that can literally transform manufacturing industries over the next decade. There are four paths companies can follow to derive value from AM. A key aim for our course is to help participants understand these paths and the drivers that influence them:

• Path I: Companies will not radically alter supply chains or end products but the time and cost saving potential of AM is definitely worth exploration for select processes.
• Path II: Companies take advantage of scale economics offered as a potential enabler of supply chain transformation for the products they offer.
• Path III: Companies take advantage of scope economics offered to achieve new levels of performance or innovation in the products they offer.
• Path IV: Companies alter both supply chains and products in pursuit of new business models.

It’s important to point out that AM is not a panacea. It will not replace traditional manufacturing methods in all circumstances and some organizations will find there is not a place for AM in their business strategy. For a multitude of organizations, however, additive manufacturing will provide the potential to innovate, grow, and achieve improved performance. Managers and executives responsible for strategy, operations, innovation, R&D, supply chain, and more need to understand the basics of AM technologies and the future impact AM may have in their sector and for their business. We hope you’ll join us as we explore this in detail during the MOOC. For more on AM, I invite you to view our 3D opportunity research collection.

- Mark Cotteleer, Research Director, Deloitte

Posted in Stories | Comments Off

Powerful Messages Aren’t Just for Hollywood



Guest post by Miriam Rivera, CEO of KFA and Co-Founder of Ulu Ventures:

Start-up pitches are everywhere; everyone has something to pitch especially in Silicon Valley. But how do you make sure your pitch to investors stands out against the noise? Turns out, there is some science to the pitch. It involves the art of storytelling and human emotion.

Creating a Message that Evokes Emotion

A workshop, The Science of Stories was conducted at Stanford University, spearheaded by literary scholars, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists. One researcher from Princeton, Uri Hasson, used brain imaging to demonstrate that stories presented through video (a Clint Eastwood movie) resulted in brain scans among viewers that correlate in remarkably similar ways. What’s interesting is that when a person tells a vivid story and another person hears that same story, even in a recording, the brain activity of the storyteller and the listener match up to a remarkable degree. The more similar the brain activity, the more the listener claims to understand the story.

A Compelling Pitch

I’m fascinated by these findings because it is a physical demonstration of empathy or a human emotional connection. Furthermore, this is evidence that ideas are transferred from one person and received by another in some fundamentally coherent manner. How does this help you ensure your start-up pitch isn’t a box office flop? Create both a vivid personal and company story, without this you will surely be quickly overlooked. In my career as an investor, I’ve heard hundreds if not more than a thousand pitches. The ones that resonate with me, are the ones that tell a colorful story and facilitate some kind of personal connection.

Channel Maya Angelou’s words when you’re getting ready to make your pitch:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The upcoming KFA course, The Startup Pitch, taught by Stanford GSB coach and author Chris Lipp, offers some of these compelling storytelling tips. Sign up for Start-up pitch today!

Posted in Stories | Comments Off