I thought I would just share a blog about how the first half of our second semester went, and where we are headed in the next half of the semester. The first two classes we had this semester were Launching, Sustaining and Scaling Creative Ventures and Marketing for Entrepreneurs.
We started Launching, Sustaining and Scaling Creative Ventures by re-organizing the documents needed to launch our business. Our last Legal class meant we already had these prepared. My documents included an operating agreement, a name reservation, a trademark application, an employee agreement, an employee handbook, a non-compete agreement, a non-disclosure agreement, an online privacy agreement, monthly membership terms and conditions, and articles of incorporation.
We then went about gathering all the documentation needed to apply for an SBA Loan. We had to evaluate our three-year projections for our business and reassess our finances and our breakeven. The SBA loan documents included a loan amount and description, a resume, a personal financial statement, the last three years of federal returns, a profit and loss statement and balance sheet for the previous year, projections for the next three years and our business plan. We ended the course by mapping out our customer journey, creating the written story of our business, writing a formal funding letter, and making a ten-year plan. The ten-year plan allowed us to evaluate three different potential futures for our venture, determine the conditions for achieving those futures, and establish guideposts, a flex plan and feedback loop. I found all of this to be extremely helpful for my venture!
Our Marketing class was structured to end with a twenty-page marketing draft. Each week, we had to do a short reading and exercise from our marketing book that helped us to slowly organize all the information we would need for our marketing draft. The last three weeks were centered around submitting our draft and getting direct feedback on what we needed to change, so by week eight we had everything we needed. The marketing plan ended up consisting of the executive summary, the marketing situation, the marketing opportunity, the business model, marketing objectives, the marketing strategy, operations, marketing budget/financials, management team, and evaluation and control. Since we had been working on building this information in previous classes, it was easy to pull all the information we already had and continue to revise it.
We are now starting our next two classes for this semester, Venture Funding and Strategic Leadership. The structure of having 2 classes every 8 weeks is fast paced, but it allows us to focus on only two classes at a time, so we are able to get quality work out of each one. Meeting in person weeks two, five, and seven also allows us to be more asynchronous and have more flexibility with jobs outside of the program.
Having such a small class has allowed us all to become close and reach out for help from each other outside of the few class meetings that we have. We are all planning on walking at graduation this May together.