Business Plan Workshop -- Learning the Basics

Submitted by Anne Linvill on March 11th, 2016
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Short Description: 

Entering students all take MGT101 – Business Management Practice. Creation of a business plan for a unique product or service is the major project for this course. This Library assignment uses a workshop format to give student groups in Management 101 the task of exploring, evaluating, and reviewing a particular resource important in the business plan research process. Groups are provided a work sheet that presents a set of tasks and 'deliverables' which form the basis of a presentation during which they teach their peers how to use the resource, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of that resource. Active engagement exploring new databases and resources helps students acquire skills necessary for successful completion of course assignments. Including students in the teaching process promotes this engagement, and often results in a more successful transfer of knowledge and skills to all students. Librarians and professors may chime in at the close of each presentation to underscore points made by student evaluators, or further those presentations by providing additional strategies or pathways to uncover needed information of benefit to all students as they work to develop their business plans.

Learning Outcomes: 

Become familiar with important sources of Demographic information from U. S. Census websites Learning how/why demographic information strengthens a business plan Introduction to and acquisition of research strategies in multiple databases Understanding that research is a process


Individual or Group:

Course Context (e.g. how it was implemented or integrated): 

MGT101 is a course all students must take at Menlo College. In the course, groups are assigned the task of identifying a unique product or service for which they must develop a strong business plan. At the end of the semester, there is a competition to select the most successful plans that are then presented to Venture Capitalists for review and comment. The Librarians worked together to develop this interactive workshop in order to better ensure student engagement in the research process and acquisition of needed skills leading to the successful completion of a solid business plan. We developed this workshop to give students the opportunity to evaluate different resources, and present the findings to their peers. We have found this to be far more successful than a straight lecture format.

Potential Pitfalls and Teaching Tips: 

Timing is everything. Keeping track of how much time you have and making sure groups adhere to the schedule can sometimes be problematic. The compressed nature of the workshop does help focus everyone's attention. This session is usually taught about 5 weeks into the semester. As a result, students have already come to the library for other workshops with Composition and/or Freshmen Year Experience courses. As a result, they are at least aware that the library has databases, and in many cases have worked with one or two of them to search for news or background information for another project. We always have two librarians present for every session so that along with the professor, we have help available as student groups explore databases/resources/websites and put together the information they will use to teach their peers. We also require students to view the video uploaded above to begin to have some familiarity with the process upon which they are about to embark. Individual professors may also require particular readings be done in advance of the Library workshop.

Suggested Citation: 
Linvill, Anne. "Business Plan Workshop -- Learning the Basics." CORA (Community of Online Research Assignments), 2016.