Education for Business Growth
Designed by Babson College, the nation’s top-ranked entrepreneurship school, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses curriculum focuses on practical skills that small business managers can immediately put into action within their company. Over the course of the program, small business owners will gain the skills needed to recognize new opportunities, embrace practices that increase business growth and ultimately develop a customized growth plan for their business.
The curriculum is organized into nine modules and four clinics geared around small business management training, each of which includes classroom discussion, peer learning exercises, skill building and experiential applications. An integrated portfolio of business services — including one-on-one business advice, legal and financial clinics, and networking opportunities — complements classroom activities.
Module 1: You and Your Business
The opening module introduces small business owners to the program and the growth plan they will be working toward. After meeting faculty, business service providers and fellow small business owners, participants will immediately begin working with their peers and participate in exercises that stretch their visions for growth. We’ll discuss the predictable and unpredictable problems associated with growing a business and help participants identify which specific metrics are best for measuring their business’s success.
Module 2: Growth and Opportunities
Refine and articulate the business growth opportunity
In our second module, we will introduce techniques for identifying and creating opportunities for business growth. Participants will identify sources of innovation for their businesses; develop, analyze and understand the competitive landscape for their businesses and industries; and learn how to determine if a new business concept is a “good idea,” or a viable business opportunity.
Clinic: Financial Statements
This hands-on session helps participants become more comfortable with the three basic financial statements and how to understand and interpret key numbers. Participants also have the opportunity to conduct a financial analysis in preparation for Module 3.
Module 3: Money and Metrics
Develop and forecast financial statements for growth
Financial literacy is essential to growing a business. In this module, we build on the fundamentals of financial statement design and construction. Participants then assess their business’s financial and operational realities and develop analyses and forecasting methods to plan and monitor their business’s growth.
Clinic: You Are the Lender
Participants take a step into the lender’s shoes to evaluate small business loan applications. We show participants the red flags that lenders look for and help them prepare the necessary numbers and documents for a loan application. The clinic also includes a panel session with local lenders who can answer specific small business questions.
Module 4: You Are the Leader
Develop and enhance leadership skills
Many small business owners are looking to step out of the day-to-day operations of their business to become a more strategic and effective leader. In this module, participants gain a better understanding of how their personal leadership style influences their team and business and then identify opportunities to enhance or adjust their approach to achieve even stronger business results.
Module 5: It’s the People
Build and sustain a healthy organization
This module focuses on developing employees and building an organization that can both support growth and sustain the participant’s vision for their company. In addition to recruiting and hiring best practices, we offer advice on how to develop a positive business culture that reflects the values and goals of the small business owner.
Local attorneys discuss the basics of employment law and advise small business owners on how to protect themselves during the hiring and firing process. Participants also have the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with an attorney to address their current legal questions.
Module 6: Marketing and Selling
Understand your customers’ needs
Growth can only occur with a strong marketing and sales effort. This module focuses on understanding customer needs, target markets and the competition. Participants study the fundamentals of sales and marketing and discuss how to develop and execute an effective marketing plan. This highly interactive module also includes a social media marketing panel discussion and exercises to help participants prepare and deliver a sales pitch.
Knowing when to stand your ground and when to budge can make a good deal great. In this clinic, participants learn the dynamics of negotiation and develop effective strategies to create value though collaboration.
Clinic: Digital Marketing
Adjust your business strategy to become part of the digital age. This clinic will provide participants with the opportunity to evaluate their websites and to plan for their growth by learning to leverage social media.
Module 7: Strategic Growth through Operations
Increase operational efficiencies, improve profitability
Processes are central to everything a business does. In this module, participants evaluate their current operational processes, including workflow and logistics, to better understand and map key components of their business’s operations. Participants also learn how to empower employees to take responsibility for certain processes within operations.
Module 8: Being Bankable
In this module we review the different types of financing available to small businesses and help participants understand which funding sources are most appropriate for their business. We discuss the value of maintaining important financing relationships with local institutions and help participants become more “bankable.” In addition to examining the intricacies of raising capital, we take a step back to provide guidance on how to assess and value their company and the resources required for future business growth.
Module 9: Action for Growth
Sharing the growth plan
During the final session of the 10KSB 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. We discuss the role of external business advisors (e.g., mentors, consultants, advisory boards) and introduce the program’s alumni program. We also revisit possible exit strategies and provide guidance on how to choose and execute an exit strategy.