Millikin professors publish new book on business plan essentials
First-Year students in Millikin University's Tabor School of Business are often taught how to create a business plan for an enterprise of their choice, as part of a hands-on learning curriculum. Throughout the process, the students learn the basics of business plan writing – establishing the goals of the business and its core functions. Students present their plans as an end result of this practice during events such as Millikin's Freshman Business Plan Competition.
Millikin faculty members Dr. J. Mark Munoz, professor of international management, and Dr. Anthony Liberatore, director of Millikin's MBA Program, have been at the forefront of teaching business plan creation to Millikin students. Their experiences have been captured in a new book they've written entitled "Business Plan Essentials" (McGraw Hill, 2015).
"Tabor offers a course called Business Plan Creation where first-year students are engaged in business thinking, and are involved in business creation early in the process," said Dr. Munoz. "In most schools, students create business plans during their senior year. We have students work on business plans early so that they can immediately start building and applying their business knowledge."
Munoz noted, "In the past, we've used business textbooks that mostly talk about theories and very little about how to create a business plan. Dr. Liberatore and I wanted to write a book that was tailored to the Business Plan Creation course and Millikin's Performance Learning model."
The book helps students and aspiring entrepreneurs understand the language of business by creating a business plan that is a reflection of personal and group goals.
Dr. Liberatore says, "We try to get students to understand that they are building a business. They have to figure out ahead of time what needs to be done – they're building a company and not just a plan."
The book provides three main objectives for business plan writing: Develop a competitive business plan that is aligned with the organization's goals, provide basic information on core business functions, and provide a platform where a heightened understanding of business is gained.
"The book covers all the key ingredients of starting a new venture," said Dr. Munoz. "It starts with a vision created by the student or entrepreneur. Then, they immerse themselves into the research aspect of the process – conducting market research to understand the operational environment and competition. They proceed to examine the financials and basic accounting principles as well as marketing. The final aspect pertains to the overall management of the enterprise."
According to both professors, a difficulty for younger students is being able to see that a business plan is not an end in itself, but a tool for understanding business operations.
"First-Year students, typically in a course like Business Plan Creation, are challenged by the research aspect of the process," said Dr. Munoz. "The students are also challenged by the quantification of earnings and income. Oftentimes, it's their first exposure to business and they gain new perspectives."
Dr. Liberatore added, "We focus on taking the business idea to performance and presentation. For us, it's a different teaching style because we have students practicing in the classroom and getting better."
Currently, copies of the book are available to Millikin students, but other educational institutions have expressed interest in using the book in the future.
"It's a practical book that can be used by first-year students, entrepreneurs in our local community, and even post-graduates," said Dr. Munoz. "It helps crystallize their thinking on the basics of business."