Here’s the thing about teaching business planning: there are no answers in the back of the book. Students come up with interesting ideas, do research and then turn to you for help figuring out their business models. There is no cookie-cutter answer! As the teacher, you are never sure that you are “right” in the advice that you give. Compare that to statistics, math or other fields where most problem sets do have an answer key! So, teaching entrepreneurship involves being in charge but without a specific answer. Frustrating!
That said, it is also what makes teaching entrepreneurship a blast. I love the challenge of new ideas, of puzzling out the potential answers to the difficult question about how to make money with a product or service idea. How to launch, how to stage things, how to articulate the value proposition, how to create a sustainable competitive advantage – these are very unstructured questions. The concepts are deceptively easy, but the discipline and application are incredibly difficult.
Studying entrepreneurship is great preparation for life in business, where, in fact, there really are no answer keys. To understand that point even better, check out our new podcast series, “Not in the Back of the Book.” Recently, I asked accomplished entrepreneur and commercial real estate expert Jacie Stivers, to open up her rolodex and talk with people about situations in which they had to do create problem-solving in business. The result is a terrific podcast series that is now an official part of TenGoodMinutes.com.
Check it out!