At Foundation Builders International’s our approach to vocational and business training has three areas of instruction for our student’s development.
Part 1. Foundation Builders Institute of Construction Theory and Practices
Institutes are established in countries where we have a scheduled construction management project or would like to develop construction management projects. See the flow chart labeled Foundation Builders International and Foundation Builders Institute for the full picture of the modules covered by our students. Upon receiving their Institute Certificate, our students will are hired on the construction projects in jobs suited to their certificate to gain valuable on the job training, while being paid at or better than the prevailing wage for the country where the project is under construction. The following course outline represents all Foundation Builders can offer. We tailor the course schedule to address the tarining that is most needed in a location to equip the people for immediate employment.
Course schedule for Foundation Builders School of Business
101 Courses Focus understanding economics, the use of money, developing of wealth, ethics in the market place
All students enrolled in the Institute take these courses
1) What is money? Exploring the exchange of money for time and skill in employment.
2) Work – The value of work in developing self-confidence, self-value, and future expectations
3) Income, expenses, why do I need to budget? Developing personal economic strategies
4) The ethics of work- why are honesty, integrity, and perseverance important?
5) What is wealth? Developing a generational view of what makes wealth.
201 Courses focus Business development and management
Only students interested in owning their own business take these courses
Determine viability- Researching to see if your business idea will work
The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It’s to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself.-Paul Graham
If you have an idea already, it's important to know if the idea is viable before you dedicate time and resources to something that may not work. Thousands of startups launch every week, but few survive to tell their story. You don’t want your business to be another statistic of failed businesses. Get the numbers right, find out what can work and what will not work, invest some time to do research about your idea and start it right. These are 29 of the important questions you have to answer to determine if your idea is worth pursuing.
- Will you personally use your product?
- Can you find 10+ people who are willing to pay for it now?
- What do you love to do? How different is it from your idea?
- How painful is the problem you intend to solve?
- Is your target market big enough to create a real business out of it?
- What is your revenue model and how realistic is it?
- How well can the founders execute?
- Can the founders identify what they need to do, beyond the obvious?
- How does the customer address the problem today?
- What are the recent trends that make your solution possible?
- What is the simplest version of this idea?
- How fast can you take the idea to market?
- How soon can you build version one?
- What makes your product different?
- How much money is needed to build your prototype?
- Customers will only buy a simple product. Can you explain your product in one sentence?
- Do you have any advantage over the competition?
- Are you passionate enough about the idea to dedicate all your time for the next 1-2 years to it?
- How easily can you get access to 2-3 high profile people who can advise you on how to succeed in that target market?
- Can you convince 1-2 great people to work with you right now?
- How soon can you scale it?
- How will it make the world a better place?
- In what way is it creative, innovative and unique?
- What opportunities and risks do you face?
- What is the picture on patents?
- What long-term goals have you set?
- How is the industry developing (market growth)?
- What are the key success factors?
- Why should someone give you money?
- How will your business survive and grow in the next five years?
Live in the future and build what seems interesting. Strange as it sounds, that’s the real recipe. Paul Graham
Create a business plan
It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t need a business plan, but creating a business plan with financial projections forces you to think through details. Keep your plan a living breathing thing that you revisit and adapt regularly.
Ten Keys to Writing a Small Business Plan
By Paul Marchesseault, Abshier House
A small business plan must focus on the essentials. Any successful business plan will address organizational structure, product descriptions and market position, marketing and sales, and finances. Critically important is the how, when, and where you are going to accomplish what you plan. But here are ten key things you need to do for a great business plan:
- Write down your thoughts throughout the planning process.
Although this may seem obvious, many people plan in their heads and don’t write it down. Later, they forget some of what they had thought. Keeping notes from the beginning is essential.
After you have grouped your notes in some categories, then start writing an organized business plan. Don’t be too fancy or grandiose, get down as many essentials as you can.
- Get help to construct the plan.
Resources in business planning can be found in abundance on the Internet. But, if you aren’t into the do-it-yourself thing, there are tons of companies with websites that want to sell small business planning help, business plan templates, small business accounting software, and on and on. Just type Small Business Planning into your favorite search engine, and you’ll find several sites that supply the needed information.
What’s the nature of your business? What markets needs will you serve? How will your services or products meet those needs? Why will your products or services have a competitive advantage in your defined markets? How will you tell those markets what you have to offer? Will your organization function as well as competitors, or even better, to serve the needs of the described marketplace?
Think about your target market. It’s not everybody out there. Who needs your products and services? Or, do you need to create a perception in the market that your products or services are needed? That can be difficult, but not impossible. After all, who knew they desperately needed a cell phone 30 years ago?
You must describe a focused, manageable market that you can truly serve. You must research that market and then describe its distinguishing characteristics, its size within the area you will serve, and how many shares of that market you can capture. Document your logic so you can explain it to a partner, a banker, or an investor.
- Develop a sales and marketing plan.
What will your marketing strategy be? How are you going to make your potential customers aware of what you have to offer? Word of mouth will not suffice to kick off a new business. You have to come up with marketing strategies that will make your company and its products and services memorable.
Your pricing must be very competitive, or your products and services so superior that people will pay more for them. Potential customers must know where and how to get what you are selling. These are all things to include in a marketing plan.
The sales plan will consist of the specific steps your organization will take to execute the marketing strategy. For instance, will you sell your products online, from a retail location, at in-home parties, or some combination of the three? Will you have your sales force or use independent reps?
- Prepare financial statements.
Your new business, or expansion of a previously started business, will need several financial statements. You’ll need a projected income statement, a balance sheet, a calculation of cash flow so you can count on being able to pay bills and employees when those times come, and a break-even analysis, which will tell you when you will start making a profit from your business.
- Choose your business name.
The right business name projects an image in the minds of potential customers. Luigi’s Pizza works. Luigi’s Corner Bank, not so much.
Try out names on people. Talk about the business you are about to launch and ask them to select the best name of three that you’ve conjured up. Note their reactions. Keep trying out names until you can select the one that seems to work best. Does it reflect the mission of your business? Be certain it does.
- Register your business name.
When you’ve selected your business name, you must register it to comply with the law. Requirements changes from country to country which is why it is important to investigate what you need to do,
- Establish the legal structure of the business.
Will your business be a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership, a Limited Liability Company, a Corporation, or an S Corporation? Your choice will have legal and tax implications. You should seek legal assistance in this matter.
- Describe the management structure.
Who’s the leader of the company, the boss? Will there be other managers or partners? Who reports to whom? Are there other employees? Describe the duties of each manager and employee.
Make certain there are no gaps in the responsibilities in getting all the jobs done that are necessary for the success of the venture. For example, are there products to be manufactured and packaged? Who is responsible for organizing a manufacturing plan and who makes the stuff? Will outside services be procured for any reason? Who keeps the books and pays people?
Figure out the money
Most startups take a lot more time to get off the ground than you expect. Know where your living expenses for the first year will come from (savings, a job, spouse’s income, etc.). If you need financing for the business, start investigating where this will come from as soon as possible.
- Explore funding that is available through grants for entrepreneurs in emerging nations
Investigate and apply for business licenses
Investigate all the license requirements to operate a business
- Check with local and national government agencies to determine what license is required
Start your revenue stream
Start generating revenue as soon as possible. At the early stages of a startup there is never enough money – resist the temptation to wait until things are “perfect.”
Rent retail, office space or manufacturing facility
If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll need to sort this out early. If you plan to run a retail business, pay attention to foot traffic, accessibility, and other factors that will affect the number of people that will walk in your store. EXCEPTION: If you don’t have a brick and mortar or retail business, then hold off renting an office as long as possible to avoid saddling your startup with lease payments.
Open a business bank account
It’s all too easy to use your personal bank account to pay for business expenses, but it becomes a gnarl to untangle later.
Set up your accounting system
Once you have your bank account set up, choose an accounting program. Start as you intend to go. Few things will doom your business faster than books that are a mess.
- Develop your budget for the business
- Introduction to Financial Accounting
- Management Accounting
Hire your first employee
Depending on the type of business you have, you may need staff from day one It’s important to stay focused on not trying to do everything yourself. When all you are focused on is the running your business, this takes you away from growing the business.
- The relationship between owner and employees
- The value of employees
- Owner responsibilities towards employees
- Developing the interview questions
Line up suppliers and service providers
Finding a good source of inventory is crucial, especially in certain types of businesses (retail, manufacturing). Beyond inventory, line up good reliable suppliers and service providers, so you don’t have to sweat the details.
Refine your product, and the marketing and sales approach
As you go along, you will learn more about the marketplace. Use customer feedback to refine your product and service offerings, and your go-to-market approach.
Understanding how owning and operating a successful business gives the opportunity to help the community
- Successful businesses make it possible for others to succeed
- Successful businesses elevate the financial climate of the community the business operates in
- Successful businesses can reinvest into the community
- Successful businesses keep the money in the local economy
- Successful businesses operate with integrity both to the community and the companies employees
Get a mentor
It’s all too easy to work “in” your business rather than “on” it. As Michael Gerber tells us in The E-Myth, we need to be working “on” our businesses if we want them to grow and flourish. A mentor who has succeeded in your industry can provide you with priceless advice and serve as a sounding board.
Through Foundation Builders business development office the student will be paired with business leaders both in the country and the United States to provide a strong pathway to success. This also includes follow-up and mentoring after the student has established their business.
Part 3. Foundation Builders Institute of Enterprise Development
When an Institute is started in an area, there will be an assessment done by the Institute directors as to what products are needed in the local economy that can be built from local materials. Once a product need and the supply of local materials has been established, an enterprise will be established through the Business Enterprise Development Branch of Foundation Builders. See the flow chart labeled Business Enterprise Development to see the full scope of modules to be covered by the Enterprise Development. The goal is to have students working in the fabrication plant while they attend school to provide income to their families while in school. The fabrication plant will also provide income to the Institute to help offset the cost.