Part of Unit: Developing a Business Plan
Lesson Plan Overview / Details
This lesson assumes the students are developing a business plan for Virtual Enterprise or a Business Class Project . This lesson is used after students have a tentative business for their plan. This is a Two-day lesson. It will require two separate class periods separated by a weekend (or more days).
Day 1: Setting up the research project. Students will learn about various components and elements of a business similar to the business they are planning. Through a simulation activity, the students will become engaged with the concept and value of the actual things “on the ground” they will have to plan. They will be presented the actual steps of the observation process through a demonstration strategy and will also be shown examples of the process. They will also be given a list of suggested observation items for their independent application. They will interact further with the steps and each other through a practice activity. Teacher will assess understanding through observation during these activities and students will demonstrate mastery through a written report.
Day 2: The Debriefing (may NOT require an entire class period). After teacher examples, the students will compare their findings in small groups, noting aspects they did not notice in their business, or forgot to record. A few students from each group will share with the entire class. The students will then write their final Reconnaissance Report.
- 2 Class Periods
California Career and Technical Education Standards
- ANR.FS.9.6 Understand leadership, cooperation, collaboration, and effective decision-making...
- MSS.B.B2.1 Understand the reasons a small business develops a business plan.
- MSS.B.B2.2 Conduct market research by using a variety of methods.
- MSS.FS.7.2 Understand the importance of accountability and responsibility in fulfilling per...
California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)
Objectives and Goals
- Students refine their business plan idea.
- Students gather ideas for possible inclusion in their business plan.
- Students broaden their understanding of a business enterprise.
- Students conduct community-based market research (store design and display).
- Students produce a "reconnaissance report" based on community-based research
- Students incorporate information and ideas from their "reconnaissance report" into their larger business plan class project
Activities in this Lesson
- Alien Observers at School: - Hooks / Set
Teacher asks students to pretend they are aliens and have never attended school. They are assigned the job of visiting this school and writing a report for the leader in the “Mother Ship.” Teacher gives one or two examples of objects outside and inside the classroom.
Students are allowed three minutes to observe and take notes. They may ask the teacher questions. (They may write notes about what they saw before they entered the room, but are not allowed to go outside.)
The teacher then asks for student observations.
The teacher then asks how students could categorize their observations to give the best and fullest description of the school.
The teacher then classifies the student observations based on the suggested categories. The teacher asks for new category ideas for any observations not fitting a category.
- Input/output Systems Analysis - Lecture
The teacher provides an explanation of Input/output Analysis and systems view of a business:
A. Input/output Analysis
Any business can be looked at as processes or work with inputs and outputs.
Inputs are those things and resources a business must take in to do work. These include materials, supplies, utilities and labor.
A process is a specific order of work activities with clearly defined inputs and outputs. It is a structure for action. Process is a series of steps designed to produce an output. (It also includes management and supervision.)
The output of a business would be the product or service.
B. Systems View
Systems View, or “Systems theory,” refines the Input/output view of a business by including the influences of the environment of the business. This environment includes “sources” such as Suppliers, Resource Markets, and Labor Market; Distribution of output products through retail stores; and the Business’s Competitors.
Neighborhood/business district/mall; building; outside of store; suppliers; etc.
- Process Examples - Demo / Modeling
For a manufacturing company, the process flow is: Raw material inputs; labor and machine manipulation; different phases of “work-in-progress”; finished good warehousing and distribution.
Input = dough, sauce and toppings
Process = stretching, sprinkling and baking
Output = pizza
For a service company, the process flow depends on the customer, and what is being done for them.
Customer + Chair + Scissors = Haircut
Some businesses, such as food service, combine both flows (food preparation and customer flow).
Eating a meal in a restaurant.
(Teacher encourage students to take notes or to draw diagrams as the examples are explained. Teacher should also encourage students to relate examples to their own business plan.)
- Analyze a Business - Check Understanding
Teacher summarizes the process. Students are asked how they should analyze a common business, such as a pizza parlor.
Students pair-share and generate a list of possible things they would anticipate observing. Students then share with the whole class, either orally or on a whiteboard.
- Plan the Visit - Lab / Shop
Teacher asks the students to think about their tentative business for their plan. Teacher asks the students to make a list of places they could visit.
Students pair/share, brainstorm, identify and list potential stores or businesses they can visit in person (and on the web) that may give them insight to the various parts of their type of planned business. Point out that a visit may also give them new or different ideas how their business might look or function.
Teacher moves through room, asking students for ideas. Teacher may have a print “yellow pages” (if available); or a computer with local business directory available.
- Visit Instructions - Projects
Teacher provides handout for students to use a reminder checklist. Teacher reviews the assignment and list of observational prompts. Teacher reminds students that there may be items on the handout’s list that do NOT apply to their planned business.
Students are then assigned to visit their listed businesses sometime over the weekend. (The teacher may elect to give more time for this stage.)
They are reminded to sketch the outside of the business; the interior floor plan; and to collect ANY collateral free handouts or print materials that might help them later.
Teacher leads a discussion about how and when to approach the manager or employees of a business. They should avoid busy times. They should write notes about their visit first. They should ONLY ask questions at the business if they have specific questions written down and well-though-out Then, if the situation allows, they should approach the manager, briefly state their school and project, and ask their questions.
Teacher leads a discussion about where the students will be going to visit the business
Teacher says: “Do this on your own time under your parent’s care. Please be careful and aware of your surroundings when you do field research outside of school.”
Note to teacher: this portion is conducted by student outside of the classroom.
- Business and Surroundings Assignment.doc [ Download ] Handout for assignment with list of observational prompts
- Business Plan Application - Closure
Teacher explains how this research will help the student design the elements the business of their own in their business plan.
Teacher provides a review of proficiency. Their research should give a clear written and diagrammed description of a business. A second possible result is the student may have new ideas and refinements about their plan.
Teacher provides examples of this skill in trade fields, such as:
Business management: managers need to have a broad view of all the parts of their company.
Management consulting: consultants are typically hired to enter a client company and analyze how it functions, and how to improve operations.
Financial careers: bankers need to analyze business operations and how they affect the company’s finances. They also need to identify assets (things of value) in a company which can serve as collateral for a loan.
Business appraisal: appraisers must also identify assets (things of value) in a company and how they affect the company’s finances. Businesses can be valued either by assets or “cash flow.”
Note to teacher: The "Entrepreneur career video" located below at "Day 2: Writing and Summarizing/Closure" may be shown here instead. (.mpg, 16.3MB) O*Net Code 11-1010.09"
- Day 2: prior knowledge - Demo / Modeling
Teacher assesses student’s prior knowledge: systems view of a business.
(Optional: Students may be placed in groups of similar businesses.)
Teacher can show videos of business interiors. Playing soundtracks are optional. Click on the timeline to jump to different store views.
- HipHop Shop example [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] This HipHop Shop example is a small facility. Play the first two minutes only. Can be muted, or music track set at low volume. (flv, 9.6MB )
- Pet Store tour example [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] This Pet Store tour is a longer, less jumpy example. The narration by manager can be muted. Click on the timeline to jump to different store views -- some of the displays are repetitive (unless you like chew-toys). (flv, 26.3MB )
- Day 2: Share Findings - Group Work
Teacher explains the primary objectives of the day is to have the students relate their findings of their observation.
- Day 2: Whole-Class Sharing - Group Work
Teacher asks students to pair/share the results of their observations.
(Optional: Students may be placed in groups of similar businesses.)
Teacher selects students to share observations with the whole class.
- Day 2: Writing and Summarizing/Closure - Closure
Teacher asks students to summarize in writing what they have learned about the process of business reconnaissance.
Teacher asks students to summarize in writing what they have learned about their own specific business. (Teacher may use Virtual Enterprise grading standards or rubrics; or standards used for the class Business Plan project.)
Teacher may also show Entrepreneur career video; and tie this assignment into a more general discussion about the market and competitor research that the entrepreneur often conducts.
(Career video is from New Jersey's Dept of Labor and Workforce Development, http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/wfprep/coei/media/English_Video_List_Capt.html#12)
- Assessment Types:
- Writing Samples, Observations,
Day 1: Teacher evaluates by observation; and by collecting/examining the “Alien Observers” activity.
Day 2: Teacher evaluates “Business Reconnaissance” by collecting/examining the report and diagrams.