Creative Entrepreneurship

Week 1.  Creativity. Entrepreneurship.

What does creativity mean for you?  How can we become more creative?

Based on chapter:   The textbook chapter outlines several case studies, including a case of a sustainable socially responsible firm ‘Good One’ that generates a profit and at the same time helps to recycle old clothing.  Are most businesses you know ethical and socially responsible? How can a small business be socially responsible and profitable at the same time?

First assignment: Why did this course on Creative Entrepreneurship attract your attention? What experience have you had with small business (through work, family, or being a consumer)?  What are some of the creative things you have done so far?  What is your superpower (special rare skill)? Do you have a dream to start your own business?  What kind of business and why do you want to do it?  What do you think will be the main challenges you would face? Do you know anyone who owns a similar business? Are they successful, and why?   What questions do you have that this course may help you answer?

Week 2. Residency

Day 1. 

Lecture & discussion of entrepreneurship, creative industries.  Review and discussion of everybody’s instant consulting ideas.

Prepare for an in-person discussion about starting a micro-business. Fill out the following form with one idea for your imaginary consulting business. What do you know or can yo do better than most other people? This can be your unique expertise in a certain industry, your rare skill, your knowledge of a subject or a location. Become a consultant, a tutor, or a guide. Copies of forms will be available at the residency, you can prepare your answers in advance and fill out the form before class.

Day 2.

Lecture & discussion of technology trends and new ideas for business. Dress for failure day – get comfortable with failure by coming to class in outfit that will never get you hired.

Workshop in class: Generate an idea for a small business in groups of 3. Share thoughts on the effectiveness of group work.

Prepare for Trash to Treasure Shark Tank on day 3. Groups of 2 students are asked to create a useful new product or improve an existing product using materials commonly found in trash. The idea is to take your trash and make something valuable out of it so that someone might want to pay for it. Prepare your creative business financing pitch by filling out this form and watching these videos:

Day 3.   Trash to Treasure Shark Tank

5 groups of 2 will present their creative financing pitch. The non-presenting  participants are sharks, each will receive limited ‘funds’, or tokens, to be allocated to businesses with the most potential (not your own).  How will you decide which business idea deserves financing? Write down your criteria, modify it during the workshop. Rate other pitches based on your criteria. At the end, each shark will explain their criteria, how they make their decision, and why they funded businesses of their choice.

Week 3.  Failure.

Discussion: After reading about failures (see resources under M2 Overview), what lessons have you learned about failed startups?  Why are certain businesses riskier than others? Have you ever observed a business failure in real life? Why did it happen?

Week 4.  Micro business


1. Jason Fried, the founder of Basecamp, said:  “A great way to build a business is to start out by solving your own problems. You’ll be the target audience and you’ll know what’s important and what’s not.”  Let’s generate ideas for a business   by looking for things that annoy you, make you uncomfortable,  or create problems for you. Try to find and share with us something from your every day life that “annoys” you. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or even one related to your business/career goals. What’s the real underlying issue you see? Can you use your own creativity to imagine a new solution to it?

2. Using the study resources in this module, find one idea for your own $100 startup. The idea should satisfy the following conditions: a). This should be an idea inspired by the readings and possibly adapted for your reality. B). This should be something you enjoy and would do for free. Explain your idea and why you chose it. For best results, try to cover most questions that show up in the One-Page Business Plan.

Week 5.  Economic environment for business 

What is the future of the creative industry? Will robots steal creative jobs, or on the contrary, increase the number of creative jobs?

Reputation and trust – how important are these two features in today’s business?  How are they enforced?  What can bad reputation and loss of trust do to a business?

Find two creative projects listed on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, a project that you think will be successful and a project that you think will fail.  Explain why you think so.

Week 6. Prices and intellectual property

Read the book on the future of prices.  Make up 7 questions based on this book and answer them. Your answer should demonstrate depth and breadth of your familiarity with several chapters of the book.

Week 7. Run your business

D4. Visit as a customer a small business that you are familiar with.  Make a purchase. Describe your experience from the time you entered to the time you left. What surprised you or disappointed you?  Please explain. What recommendations would you make to the owner?  Why are you loyal to that business? What in particular does the business do that you like?

D4. Interview a small business owner.  Think of 5 questions you want to ask him in order to learn the most from his/her experience. Write down your questions and their answers.  Try to determine if they have a strategy even if they can’t articulate one.  It is often said that the most-successful businesses are those that create experiences rather than products, or create experiences (environments, relationships) around their products. How does this business create an experience?

Module 8. Marketing and hiring

Watch several short videos on marketing and sales and read the Viral Marketing booklet.  Describe 5 ideas that caught your attention, whether because they were new and surprising, or because you find them particularly useful for your future business.

Explain at least 5 ideas that you found potentially useful from your readings on hiring new employees.  It should be clear from your answer what kind of people you want to team up with and what kind of culture you want to create for your “startup”. Be specific in terms of attributes, skills, attitudes, values.

Module 9-10. Create your business plan

This project is to be completed by teams of 2 people. The goal is to further develop an idea for your potential small business by creating a business plan.  Create a purpose statement (ch 1 of the book). Craft a vision statement (ch 2). Write down the values that most influence your decision making (ch 3).  What story do you have about your business? (ch 4) What problem(s) are you looking to solve? (ch 5)  How could you begin to solve the problem without having to spend loads of time and money on it? (ch 6). Describe your customer, an ideal tribe member. (ch 7) How do you make your customers’ lives better? (ch 8)  What can you offer for free? (Free! book). How are you going to market your service online and offline?  Describe the industry: what kind of similar goods/services are already offered, and how is yours different? How are you going to create an experience for your customer?  Create a simple next year income statement for your business (projected revenues, expenses, profits). Make a break even analysis to determine how many units of good/service you have to sell in order to break even.  Imagine what failure looks like with respect to what you are currently working on. Be descriptive and specific. How would you like to deal with it?

Further Readings

45 content ideas for blog & Instagram – online presence

The Roadmap to Successful Brand Creation – David Brier. This short book provides outlines for 10 branding strategies and rebranding examples, to help your business stand out from the rest.

279 Days to Overnight Success – Chris Guillebeau. Writers & bloggers,  learn how to grow your online presence.

7 Secrets for Growing Your Own Frugal Business – Jean Wilson Murray. Creating a new business is not only hard work, it’s also expensive. Read these tips on how to save money and work smarter, not harder.

Startup GuideHarvard University Office of Technology Development. This book a high-level guide and overview of the  issues that you will face as you as you start a new company.

The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss– audiobook

Zero to One ~ By Peter Thiel– Audiobook

The guide to working for yourself– Guillebeau

Small Business Management in the 21st Century – saylor