Edited by Michael H. Morris
Chapter 21: Teaching entrepreneurial execution with the YourCo Simulation
Most colleges and universities offer a class on how to write a business plan, but a plan is a document. The real difficulty for entrepreneurs is figuring out what to DO that first day, month, year. Methodologies like Agile Development and Lean Startup are excellent in guiding entrepreneurs through the product and customer development process but a minimum viable product (MVP) is not a business. These early stage frameworks neglect issues like budgeting and cash flow management, hiring, customer service and operations. The course, Building the New Venture, and the YourCo simulation were designed to help entrepreneurs work through the challenges of both the startup and early growth phases of a new company. The YourCo simulation, which parallels the ten-week course, covers the first 18 months of a new startup’s life in a somewhat compressed and structured timeline. It does this through a series of seven reports – six representing the first six quarters of the company’s operations and an extra report on a crisis situation. The key to the process is that the student teams are actually imagining the day-to-day activities of creating and operating the business. The reports structure the interconnected and iterative steps companies must go through in a manner that allows the student teams to focus on specific business-building processes.
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