Can entrepreneurship be taught? Many of the skills of successful entrepreneurs can be taught, and sensitivity to business opportunity can be sharpened. A thorough and orderly approach to business planning allows us to assess whether an opportunity exists, and to chart the best way to take maximum advantage of that opportunity. From there, a hardy individual can decide, with a little less uncertainty, whether or not to pursue that opportunity.
A feature of this book is that it is centered on the business plan. After some basic concepts are treated, and an opportunity is selected, its evaluation and refinement are treated in the context of the appropriate section of the business plan. It has been my experience that this approach gives a structure to the planning process that makes it less intimidating, and more effective.
Case studies are integral to achieving our objectives. After some market research we discuss (often through minicases) the concepts applicable to some stage of the entrepreneurial process; the full cases then “drive home” these concepts by demonstrating them in action.
One of these case studies threads its way through the entire text, describing the consequences of decisions made at various stages of a business on its later fortunes over a period of 20 years; not coincidentally, I was intimately involved in those decisions. I hope these cases help your entrepreneurial development as much as they have mine.
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