When you are looking for help, one of the best way to get it is just to ask! Brooklyn Center resident, Rick Brack, runs two businesses: Stumbling Stones Crosses and Brack’s Handyman. Recently, he was looking for some guidance in creating a solid business plan, so he stopped in to the Minnesota School of Business-Brooklyn Center campus to see if anyone could help him out.
Alex Erolin, business program chair, realized that this would be a fantastic applied learning project for his students. When the Fall 2013 Quarter rolled around and he had a fresh group of eager students in his Small Business Management class, Erolin filled the group in on what project they would be tackling over the 11 weeks. It would be a challenge, but also a fantastic opportunity for the group of students.
Over the course of the quarter, Erolin’s class met with Brack a few times to learn about his businesses and exactly what he was looking for. The students decided to concentrate on Stumbling Stones Crosses. They worked diligently on a collaborative basis and came up with a plan, which included all of the necessary components.
At the end of the quarter, the class brought Brack back in to the campus for a final presentation. Each student presented one of the following areas: an overview of the business, a SWOT analysis, a marketing plan based off of a market research survey, an operations plan, a financial plan, and then a conclusion. It was obvious that the students took the project seriously and aimed to create something that their client would be happy with.
Brack said, “I really appreciate what you [students] have done. This is a great help. I did not know that putting together a business plan was this involved. I learned a lot from this. What you did with the marketing research was very informative…to know what people think of the product.”
The students had these comments about their project:
“The project enhanced my understanding of the concepts by applying them. Once you learn about the concepts, you have to use them or otherwise they go in one ear and out another. Going over the main concepts helped me to see how it is used in the real world.”—Jessica Trevino
“This applied learning project really taught us how to work together and get organized. There were so many things to know and remember. The project realistically showed the challenges you would encounter in the business world.”—Raymond Bartuah
“Doing the short marketing research was the most fun for me…approaching people and getting their reactions about the product price, quality, and their willingness to buy. And working with the data using Excel—I never knew you could do so much with the program to analyze data.”—Chansamone Thatsanaphone
“I learned a lot about the financial part of the business plan. A good understanding of the financial statements is very important in the success of a business. This was the most difficult part of the project for me, but now I feel more prepared.”—Dedra Gardner
These students are now better equipped to write business plans, and we wish them luck with their next project!
For more information on the business program at the Brooklyn Center campus, please call 763-566-7777.