Gloria Rolfe
  This series of learning activities on entrepreneurship helps adult learners explore the possibilities of starting their own business and writing a very basic business plan for a hypothetical business. This is the third activity in a five-part project consisting of:
1. Entrepreneurship: How to begin
2. Entrepreneurship: Is it for me?
3. Entrepreneurship: What business am I in?
4. Entrepreneurship: Will it work?
5. Entrepreneurship: Planning to stay in business

  Employability, Critical thinking, Life skills, Interpersonal skills, Writing skills

Learner Level:
  Basic skills, grade levels 5.0-8.9 Credentialing, grade levels 9.0-12.9

Time Frame:
  About 3 hours (can be two class periods)

Learner Grouping:
  Whole class

  This learning activity took place in a Families First classroom meeting 5 days a week for 4 hours per day. There were 5 learners in the class. Families First is the Tennessee program that provides training for those welfare recipients who lack basic education skills. While learners work toward a GED, emphasis in these classes is shifting toward the knowledge, skills, and attitudes learners need to acquire and keep a good job.


  Messick Vocational and Adult Center

Type of Program:

Student Population Served:
  Basic skills, grade levels 5.0-8.9
Credentialing, grade levels 9.0-12.9

Entrepreneurship: What business am I in?

In this activity, learners create goals and mission statements for their businesses and define the services they will provide. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:

  • Learners will examine the goals and mission statements in several actual business plans.
  • Learners will determine and clearly define their hypothetical companies' products or services.
  • Learners will outline mission/vision statements for their companies.
  • Learners will formulate goals for their companies.
  • Learners will develop objectives for each of the first three months of their business' operation to direct the business toward the goals.
  • Learners will create slogans and names for their companies.

Primary Skill:
Convey ideas in writing

Secondary Skills:
Reflect and evaluate

Learner Needs & Goals:
We have a mandate in Tennessee to make the classes for our Families First clients more work-focused. In talking about work possibilities, the idea starting a business seemed quite attractive to the learners. This learning activity helped us explore some aspects of entrepreneurship.

Learning Activity Description:

The content of this learning activity is an integral part of all business plans and is included under such section titles as "Company Description," "Mission and Vision for Company XYZ," "Goals and Objectives," or "Business Goals," among others. The idea is to clearly define your product and/or the service you will provide and to write goals and objectives for the company. Sometimes mission and vision statements also include a philosophical statement about the motive for being in this business.

Creating a name and a slogan for a company is also an important aspect of planning, but not as serious as actually defining the product and/or service the company will provide.

Clearly defining the product and/or service your company will provide

  • Each learner spends about ten minutes thinking about what kind of a business he/she might consider opening. Learners write their ideas on a piece of paper.
  • Learners work in groups of three to five to share their ideas with others. Learners explain what they have in mind, and the group discusses the idea. The goal is for the learner to bounce ideas around and to benefit from the thinking of others in order to clarify the idea for the business.
  • Learners synthesize the suggestions and then individually write a paragraph describing what their businesses will produce or provide.

Developing goals and objectives
  • As a total group, learners look at some actual business plans for the statements of "Company Description," "Mission and Vision for Company XYZ," "Goals and Objectives," or "Business Goals." They can reread the Small Business Administration plan distributed during the first learning activity or look up additional plans on the Internet using the references provided. Have learners describe these companies based on what they have read in the business plans.
  • Working individually, learners use these statements as models to formulate the goals and the vision/mission statement for their own hypothetical businesses. Goals are defined as long-range, broad, immeasurable statements that give direction to plans and objectives. The goals should provide a broad idea of the company or business. The mission statement should include information on what the company will deliver to the consumer.
  • Learners then use their stated mission and these broad, overall business goals to develop three measurable objectives for various time frames: the first three months, the first six months, and the first year of operation. Included in the objectives should be some indication of the strategies to be used to meet these objectives.

Naming the company
  • Learners work with the same groups that helped them define their companies. They brainstorm again to come up with attractive names and slogans for their businesses. The name of a business and its slogan should be descriptive and unique. Allow about ten to fifteen minutes for this portion of the activity.
  • (Optional) If there is enough time, it is fun to make signs using poster board and magic markers with these names and slogans to post around the room.

Materials and Resources:

  • Shickler, S. J. & Casimiro, J. P. (1998). Growing a Business: Young Entrepreneur's Start Up Guide. Chamblee, GA:
  • Resnik, P. (1988). Everything you need to know to manage a small business. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Richm, S. L. (1990). The teenage entrepreneur's guide. Chicago: Surrey Books.
  • Covello, J. & Hazelgren, B. (1998). Your First Business Plan. Naperville, IL: Source books, Inc.
The following web sites were also especially helpful: Optional: brightly colored poster board and magic markers

Objectives have been met when learners have completed their mission/vision statements, goals, objectives, names, and slogans for their businesses.

Learners seemed to work well together coming up with a name, slogan, and mission statement. Two of the business ideas my learners came up with were:

  1. Type of Business: Bar & Grill Business Slogan: "Where Everyone Likes It" Mission Statement: "We Serve Excellent and Quality Food to Our Customers"
  2. Type of Business: Day Care Center Name of Business: "Loving Hands Day Care Center" Slogan: "Using loving hands to nurture your children Mission Statement: "We promise to love, teach and watch your children"
Next time I try this activity, I will have someone come in and do a goal setting workshop so that goal setting will be clearer to the learners. I had to prompt learners to make them talk about their goals.


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