The Entrepreneur's Toolkit

Course No. 5992
Stoops Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship Michael G. Goldsby, Ph.D.
Ball State University
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Course No. 5992
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Get a handle on new business ideation - including how to conduct market research and how to define your business model.
  • numbers Learn how to create a business plan that helps you (and potential investors) think through your venture.
  • numbers Get answers to common questions new entrepreneurs ask, including how to finance a business and how to franchise.
  • numbers Learn how to nurture your business after the startup phase - dealing with employees, cultivating a brand, and more.
  • numbers Get a list of outside resources cited in the lectures, including key agencies and professional organizations.
  • numbers Review fascinating case studies of the entrepreneurs who formed Apple, Disney, and other big-name businesses.

Course Overview

The numbers are staggering. According to the Small Business Administration, two-thirds of all new businesses fail in their first decade of operation. What does it take to become one of the prosperous few? How does a promising idea survive the startup phase, pass the break-even point, and eventually grow into a flourishing enterprise? In short, what are the tools that entrepreneurs need to succeed?

The answer is critically important. After all, an entrepreneurial spirit is vital to society for many reasons:

  • Great businesses depend on the ability of entrepreneurs to handle unpredictable challenges and seize unrecognized opportunities.
  • Entrepreneurship applies not just to businesses, but also to many areas, including education, non-profit organizations, sports, and government.
  • The world is teeming with breakthrough ideas, but it takes entrepreneurial skills to make them happen.
  • Entrepreneurs have created more wealth, more jobs, and more progress than any other force in society; they are truly indispensible.

Taking a risk on a new business or other enterprise can be daunting, but the rules are simple and the payoff is immensely gratifying. It all starts with an idea, a few basic principles, an organizational checklist, and a research plan—a set of tools that helps you build your way to success.

The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit is that resource, teaching you how to get started and overcome the many obstacles on the path to a profitable and rewarding venture, whatever it may be. Taught by Professor Michael G. Goldsby of Ball State University, who heads one of the nation’s premier undergraduate and graduate programs in entrepreneurship, these 24 half-hour lectures give you the background and skills to get ahead in today’s competitive marketplace.

By following Professor Goldsby’s proven path, you can embark on your own enterprise with confidence. His presentation is filled with useful tips, case histories, and personal anecdotes, along with a wealth of recommendations for websites and other outside resources, which are cited in the lectures and the course guidebook. These include key agencies and professional organizations, plus sources of vital information such as patent databases, industry standards, and government regulations that apply to your business.

A Course for the Entrepreneur in Everybody

All of us have dreams, goals, and perhaps a project or two on the back burner. The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit is your chance to make these aspirations a reality. Professor Goldsby provides a detailed roadmap for starting, nurturing, expanding, and eventually selling a business; and he shows how the same valuable skills translate to other spheres of life. Those who will benefit from Dr. Goldsby’s engaging presentation include

  • anyone thinking of going into business, whether it’s a freelance career, a small store, a franchise, or an ambitious startup;
  • those already in business who want to rejuvenate their organization and make it thrive;
  • employees who want to get ahead in their present company, using the tools of entrepreneurship to build their career;
  • teachers, ministers, club presidents, and others in leadership positions who want to make a difference in their field;
  • people who deal with entrepreneurs, from screenwriters pitching a movie to sales representatives trying to win a contract; and
  • anyone who loves a rags-to-riches story—because the annals of entrepreneurship are filled with inspiring biographies.

Get the Big Things Right

Starting a new business means paying attention to countless details. No one can do a perfect job, but the future of your organization depends on getting the big things right. The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit helps you focus on the most important elements. You begin with the preliminaries: coming up with an idea for a business, market research, establishing the feasibility of your concept, recognizing how to make a profit, and choosing a business structure.

Then you devote fully one-third of the course to the business plan, which is like a global positioning system for your enterprise; it lets you know where you are, where you’re going, and how to get there. It’s an essential document for investors, lenders, potential partners, and big customers, and it helps you think through your venture and define and meet your goals. Dr. Goldsby covers the standard parts of a business plan and explains in detail the financial sections that give many beginning entrepreneurs the most trouble, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.

Next you follow up with lectures that address crucial questions: how to get financing, how to make a home office prosper, how to start a family business, and how to buy a franchise or existing business.

Having guided you through the steps in the startup phase, Professor Goldsby devotes the final lectures to ensuring the growth of your enterprise as well as your own personal growth as an entrepreneur. These lectures cover intellectual property, employee relations, customer relations, entrepreneurship in the bigger picture, entrepreneurial exhaustion, how successful entrepreneurs think, and what’s next in your career after success.

Role Models for Business and More

There are plenty of role models in entrepreneurship, and some of the most famous launched their ventures on a shoestring. For instance, a nondescript garage in Palo Alto, California, is where Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett started the electronics firm Hewlett-Packard in 1939, paving the way for an entire industry—Silicon Valley. Down the road in Los Altos is another small garage where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer in 1976. You hear these stories and many others in The Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, including

  • Walt Disney: “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing,” advised this legendary showman, who is unusual in exemplifying the entire spectrum of entrepreneurial traits analyzed by Professor Goldsby in Lecture 21.
  • Edwin Land: “If you can define a problem, it can be solved,” said this gifted inventor, whose development of instant photography and the Polaroid camera inspired Steve Jobs to create products that his competitors could not even imagine.
  • Nick Saban: How is the head football coach of the University of Alabama a model entrepreneur? Nick Saban revived the storied glory of the “Crimson Tide” by bringing the discipline and organization of a Fortune 500 company to his struggling team.
  • Bill Gates: Lecture 24 addresses the role of entrepreneurs as philanthropists, illustrated by Bill Gates, who retired from Microsoft to devote his life to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, dedicated to fighting malaria and other global problems.

The bottom line, says Professor Goldsby, is that the entrepreneurial skills that helped bring success and fulfillment to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and so many others can be learned by anyone who’s willing to build the right toolkit to get it done.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 31 minutes each
  • 1
    How to Come Up with a Great Business Idea
    Great businesses are built on great ideas. Discover your own great idea by drawing on some basic principles plus inspiration from famous entrepreneurs. But first, you must know who your customers are, which is not as straightforward as it sounds. x
  • 2
    Understanding Your Market
    Starting a business is risky. Give your business the best chance to survive and thrive by taking three important steps: conduct primary and secondary research, understand the five key success factors, and create a competitive landscape table that rates the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. x
  • 3
    Prototypes-Making Your Idea a Reality
    Add two important skills to your entrepreneurial toolkit: writing a theory of business and building a prototype. By following these two actions, youíll be able to refine your business idea, demonstrate that itís possible to achieve, and show that your idea delivers what your customers want. x
  • 4
    Defining Your Business Model
    You are now ready to confront the most crucial question of all: how will your company make money? Learn how to answer this question with confidence by preparing a business model that addresses six issuesófrom how you will differ from your competitors to what you will do to ensure repeat customers. x
  • 5
    Picking Your Business Structure
    Survey your options for a legal structure that is appropriate to your business. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, corporation, and nonprofit corporation. x
  • 6
    Starting Your Business Plan
    The business plan is your companyís detailed roadmap for building a successful venture. In the first of eight lectures on this powerful toolkit, learn the art of writing a compelling executive summary and an incisive business description, which are a business planís introductory sections. x
  • 7
    Market Analysis and Marketing Strategy
    Continue your examination of the business plan by focusing on the marketing portion, which should include your research and analysis of the market as well as a comprehensive marketing strategy. Professor Goldsby highlights a hypothetical example, stressing the importance of telling a persuasive story. x
  • 8
    Business Logistics and Operations
    Your business plan should include details of your companyís logistics and operationsófor example, how you will obtain supplies, get products made, and deliver them. Study this critical process, which can often mean the difference between success and failure in a business. x
  • 9
    Organizational Structure and Management Teams
    Turn to the part of your business plan that deals with organizational structure and the management team, which should show that youíve assembled the right people with the right skills. Survey some of the most common mistakes, and learn how celebrated entrepreneurs selected their key managers. x
  • 10
    Income Statements and Balance Sheets
    Professor Goldsby devotes two lectures to financial statements, which make up the backbone of your business plan. In this lecture, examine income statements and balance sheets, and cover such categories as revenue, expenses, net income, assets, liabilities, ownerís equity, and the breakeven point. x
  • 11
    Cash Flow Statements and Performance Measures
    Continue your study of finance by investigating cash flow statements. Learn why they are so important, what they should include, and how to build one. Then look at important financial performance measures, including working capital, return on assets, and return on investment. x
  • 12
    Conducting Risk Analysis
    Potential investors reading your business plan will want to know that you have a plan to deal with possible obstacles and catastrophic surprises. Discover tools such as the Porter Five Forces Model and the SWOT analysis, which provide insight into critical risks and how to address them. x
  • 13
    Finishing Your Business Plan
    Complete your business plan with these sections: the harvest strategy, which covers steps to make your company sellable; the milestone schedule of key events in the projected future of your company; and the appendix and bibliography, which should provide the reader with additional resources. x
  • 14
    How to Finance Your Business
    Now that you have a comprehensive business plan, explore methods for raising money throughout the life of your business. Focus on the seed stage, the startup stage, and the growth stage. Learn what bankers look for when making a commercial loan, and where to look if the bankers balk. x
  • 15
    From Your Home Office to Social Media
    Today itís easier than ever to run a business out of your home. Assess what you need for a successful home office or any small startup. Topics include picking a unique and memorable business name, building an effective website, and exploiting social media. x
  • 16
    Starting a Family Business
    Building a family business is part of the American dream. Yet if not handled well, it can turn into a nightmare that tears a family apart. Learn the strengths, weaknesses, and challenges of a family-run enterprise, and hear about Professor Goldsby's own experience with this traditional institution. x
  • 17
    Buying a Franchise or Other Business
    Evaluate the opportunities offered by franchises, which allow you to own a business that has a recognized image and product. Then explore the rewards of buying an existing business, particularly one that is underperforming and has the potential to excel. x
  • 18
    Understanding Intellectual Property
    A smart phone, a company logo, and a bestselling book are all examples of intellectual property. Understand when and how you can protect your ideas through patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Also discover why some companies choose not to seek patent protection for their products. x
  • 19
    Managing Human Resources
    Focus on human resources practices, an important tool for designing the type of company you want to build. Cover major aspects of employee relations, including the interview, orientation, compensation, performance rewards, and the performance review, spotlighting how innovative companies handle these issues. x
  • 20
    The Customer's Experience and Your Brand
    Probe examples of both excellent customer relations and cases where poor service spiraled disastrously out of control, sinking a company. Then study the related topic of branding, which is a promise to customers about what a business can do for them. Learn how to choose a brand that expresses your commitment to customers. x
  • 21
    Entrepreneurial Perspectives
    Entrepreneurship is about seeking, recognizing, and acting on opportunities. Investigate four types of individuals who are primed to excel at this challenge. Professor Goldsby labels them artists, scientists, evangelists, and builders, and he gives famous and inspiring examples of each. x
  • 22
    Entrepreneurial Exhaustion
    Explore the phenomenon of entrepreneurial exhaustion, illustrated by the one-man-band syndrome, in which a business owner takes on too many roles. Learn how, as your company grows, you can make it more professional so that you donít run yourself and your enterprise into the ground. x
  • 23
    Entrepreneurial Leadership
    Widen your horizons to encompass entrepreneurs in every sphere of life. Then look for the qualities that make leaders in this endeavor, uncovering research that gives insight into how successful entrepreneurs think. Professor Goldsby gives one of his favorite examples and it's not someone in business. x
  • 24
    The Successful Entrepreneur
    In this last lecture, look at what happens when the entrepreneurial phase of your company is over and youíre either forced out or you want a new challenge. Hear how Steve Jobs of Apple Computer handled this watershed event and how others have reacted by reinventing themselves in a new arena of entrepreneurship: humanitarian service. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 168-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 168-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Questions to consider
  • Bibliography

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Your professor

Michael G.  Goldsby

About Your Professor

Michael G. Goldsby, Ph.D.
Ball State University
Dr. Michael G. Goldsby is the Stoops Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Center in the Miller College of Business at Ball State University. He earned his undergraduate degree in Business Economics and Public Policy from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, his master’s degree in Economics from Indiana State University, and his doctorate in...
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The Entrepreneur's Toolkit is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 39.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entrepreneurship This course helped me a lot. I recommend it to anyone that wants to know more about entrepreneurship.
Date published: 2020-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The title is very interesting. I bought this course a little while ago and got a lot of information from it. I love the idea of learning and your options are very many. It's fun!
Date published: 2020-05-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Great Courses Plus App doesn’t work I purchased the program with the understanding that I could download the lectures & play them on my phone; I created a log-in ID & Password which worked on the computer but doesn’t work on the App. I contacted customer no-support & received an email promising a response two weeks ago. Waste of money!!!
Date published: 2019-02-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! A must for starting a business I have been in the business world for decades and decided to start my own manufacturing company. This program is priceless. The small business administration should give these out for free if they want new businesses to succeed.
Date published: 2019-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Serendipity is how we discovered Great Courses! I was curious about these courses and if my special needs teen would enjoy them with me. I took a chance during the big annual sale and was able to afford to stockpile the ones I thought we both would love learning. We grab our super large tablets and started watching. We started with the vocabulary one first and the instructor was so motivating we both enjoyed his teaching method! These are high quality productions and the content is timeless so I am glad we have many more to learn with year round. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best I would have to confess that the quality of the content and production are both a 10.
Date published: 2019-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from High Quality High quality production, great multi-media platorm
Date published: 2018-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exactly what I was hoping for! By far, this is my favorite and most useful course. My wife and I want to start a business and this course, so far, has been exactly what we were looking for. I have compared the outline of this course to college certificates and degrees and the info is the same. I feel that this course is great for beginners to dig in and make their dreams come true. This knowledge will help your fledgling business stay in business.
Date published: 2018-11-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Useful if you have no background. I experienced Entrepreneur's Toolkit in audio form. Content: There is a lot of useful information for someone who knows nothing about business. Some information is basic, even simplistic. Presentation: Good use of stories to aid communication. However, I found the presentation to be slow. Much of what was said could have been with fewer word in 1/2 the time. I found the speaker's accent grating. Also, it sounds as if he's talking slowly to little children. And, some words are mispronounced.
Date published: 2018-10-05
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