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Convenient Classes, Practical Skills, Valuable Support

The 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum is designed to help entrepreneurs develop the skills needed to recognize new opportunities, embrace practices that increase business growth, and create jobs in their communities. 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 Miami area:

Our opening module will introduce participants to the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and allow business owners, faculty and business service providers to connect with each other while learning entrepreneurial skills and discussing the economy in their region. We will review the outcomes of the participant’s business assessments and explore ideas on how to create and act on a growth plan. As part of the first session, we will hear from a panel of entrepreneurs on their approach to growing their businesses, their use of local business assistance resources, and how they maintain balance between their business and family lives.

During our second module, we will explore a number of strategies for growing a successful small business. Participants will learn about the elements of a highly impactful growth plan and how the program’s course work and support services will enable them to complete and implement such a plan. We will work through a series of exercises on identifying and evaluating business opportunities, and conclude with a clinic designed to strengthen the participant’s networking skills.

Financial literacy is essential to growing your business. You must understand your company’s financial statements, how they relate to each other, and how they can help you set goals, benchmark progress and grow your revenue and bottom line. In this module, we review financial statement basics as well as develop analyses and forecasting methods to plan and monitor your 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 style and examine different approaches to leadership. In addition, participants will 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 will help participants hire, develop and retain talented individuals who can help their businesses succeed. We use a number of exercises to explore the role of organizational culture and human capital management to jump-start business growth. In addition, we help participants implement these successful practices into 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 providers, we study the 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 a panel of experts to discuss social media-based marketing.

Small business owners often lament that it's difficult to implement 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.

In this module, we review the different types of financing available to small businesses, and understand which funding sources are most appropriate for your business. We discuss how to obtain financial capital, and help participants become more “bankable.” Fundamental business valuation techniques are also examined as a possible metric to assess a company’s growth prospects. This module will be 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. In this session we introduce the role of external business advisors (e.g., mentors, consultants, advisory boards) and explore best practices for accessing and implementing their advice. The module concludes with a panel of external advisors who will describe their services and interact with participants.

During the final session of the 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum, participants will 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. We also will discuss the role of small businesses in the regional economy and ways in which participants might assume leadership roles to help strengthen the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem moving forward.