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One of the most important skills any business owner can have is the ability to write an effective business plan. A business plan is the course of action the business will follow. This lesson plan will teach student how to write an effective business plan for a worm composting project. This project is described in the article Our Worms ate Our Garbage (see the series outline below). After completing the lesson, the plan will be submitted to the teacher or administrator to get approval for the worm project.
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Creating An Outline
To start, every business plan should have an outline. Students will create an outline for their business plan using the following guidelines. First, there must be an overview or summary of the project. Consider this summary to be the 1 minute commercial for the project. Briefly describe what the project is and how it will sell the product.
The next part of the outline is the framework of the business. Headings for the outline should include startup costs and materials, location of worm project, who will be involved, how to obtain initial funding for materials and supplies, what permissions are required to place a worm composting project on campus, target market for the product (worm castings) and what educational value the project has for the students.
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Writing the Business Plan
Once the outlines have been written and reviewed, then the business plan is written following the outline. The most effective business plans will be extremely detailed. This plan should be the course the project will follow. Details as to how many worms will be needed, what type of worm composter to use, where to buy the materials, exact cost, should the PTA or PTO get involved, and where to fundraiser are all topics that need to be covered. In addition, goal setting should be mentioned. For example, students should mention the projected amount of worm castings that will be produced per month and how much of that needs to be sold in order to meet a break even and profit point.
Explain to the students that this lesson in writing a business plan is to show them how having a plan can make running a business easier. A well thought out plan is a road map for the business or in this case the worm composting project. Without clear and concise direction, many businesses fail. Learning to write a well thought out business plan is one of the most important life skills we can teach our students. They can use and apply the skills learned in this lesson to all other aspects of their life.
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Rubrics, Evaluations and Goals
The following rubric questions should be used for students to self-evaluate their plan. Did they understand the lesson? Was an outline created? Did the student create a detailed plan using the information from the outline? Is the plan organized and well written?
In the adult world, a business plan is usually submitted to a bank when applying for a loan. This business plan can be submitted to the PTA, the administration and building facilities managers in order to get approvals required for the project. Students who are very motivated may wish to show their business plan to a banker or financial planner to get a professional’s opinion. For those involved in 4H or Jr. Achievement this assignment can count toward those projects as well. The important goal of this lesson is to get them thinking about the worm casting project and how it will be run.
- Teaching experience.