Gloria Rolfe
  This series of learning activities on entrepreneurship helps adult learners explore the possibilities of starting a business and writing a basic business plan for a hypothetical business. This is the fifth 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

  Mathematics, Problem solving, Critical thinking, Life skills

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

Time Frame:
  Several classes (three or four hours)

Learner Grouping:
  Whole class, small class

  This learning activity took place in a Families First classroom meeting 5 days a week for 4 hours per day. There were 5 students 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: Planning to stay in business

Learners write the last three sections of a business plan for their hypothetical businesses: the operational timetable, the start up costs, and the three-month projected statement. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:

  • Learners will develop a timetable for when their businesses will reach certain goals.
  • Learner will investigate the costs of starting their business.
  • Learners will estimate their profit for the first three months of operation.

Primary Skill:

Secondary Skills:
Use math to solve problems and communicate, Learn through research, Solve problems and make decisions

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:

To be successful in obtaining a loan for a business, a lending institution may require the following: an operational timetable, start-up costs, and a three-month projected statement. Each of these three remaining sections of the business plan help to determine whether or not the business will remain operational.

  • The Operational Timetable addresses what will be done and when in order to prepare for the company opening, as well as what will be needed to stay in business. To address this part of the business plan, learners will make a list of things that need to be done and project when they will be done. The more detailed the list, the better the evidence of thought and planning.
  • The Start-Up Cost is the money needed to establish the business. Learners must consider the cost of equipment, facilities, supplies, and stock that are needed in order to start up. Ask learners to help each other by brainstorming costs involved in start up. The Three-Month Projected Statement is a projection of costs and profit during that time period. The balance is determined by subtracting the costs from the profits.

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:

Students completed each of these parts of their business plan and then put the whole plan together. There was a real feeling of accomplishment when they saw how complete their plans were.

The Operational Timetables my learners made for their hypothetical businesses were fairly superficial (e.g., Find a building April 2000; buy equipment June 2000; and open for business August 2000), but it was a good exercise to consider what needed to be done.

This was a very good learning activity for the learners. I recommend that the teacher spend ample time with the learners to make sure they understand each step.


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