Enhance your curriculum by addressing the QAA Guidance on skills for your subject, and incorporating the QAA (2018) Guidance on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.

QAA Benchmark Statement

  • Communication skills
  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Problem solving

Embedding Enterprise

The following ETC tools can help you to deliver these skills in the curriculum

How To Guides

These guides have been selected to build QAA (2018) enterprise skills in your teaching.


Creative Problem Solving What can I do when...? (QAA 1,7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Small group (teams of 4-6)

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Carousel Tables (small working group)

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation 7Communication and Strategy

Objectives: 

This is a lively exercise which works well with 25 or 36 learners, respectively in groups of 5 or 5 at a carousel table.

  • Learners will identify individually problems in a given context or scenario.
  • Group prioritisation: groups will next prioritise problems in order of importance, or difficulty.
  • Group editing and refining: groups will formulate the most pressing problem to briefly complete the starter: what can I do when’.
  • Individual learners put ‘on the spot’ will creatively state a tactic to a ‘What can I do when …’ problem from another group.
  • Individual thinking and oral communication: by the end of the round, everyone in the whole group has had a go at suggesting a solution for one or more problems – no passengers!
  • Analysis and reflection: members of the group which thought of the problem will discuss pros and cons of the various solutions they have heard.

Feedback from participants who have engaged in this activity is very positive indeed, and they often comment that ‘the time flew by’, and ‘we wished to do another round of this straightaway’.

Overview:

This creative problem solving exercise starts with learners in groups identifying specific aspects of a problem situation they may encounter, and phrasing the problem in the format of ‘What can I do when…’ questions. Each group supplies one question, which is written up on a slide or flipchart. Then a system is used where one member of each of the other groups in turn suggests a tactical response to the problem being addressed, and after all the tactics have been heard, the problem returns to the group who thought of it, who then discuss the pros and cons of each of the tactics they have heard from the other groups.
The exercise can be used for a wide range of problem scenarios, but is particularly productive when addressing interpersonal or communication contexts, or working with ‘difficult people’.

Activity:

The processes described below typically take around an hour with a group of 25 learners, but can be extended to two hours by using a second round of the whole sequence (by which time the learners will be much better able to engage with the process based on experience, and will often have come up with more-challenging questions, causing deeper thinking).

  1. Divide the total number of learners into groups of (approximately) equal size, e.g. 25 learners into 5 groups of 5 at carousel tables. (It is best to do this group formation randomly, avoiding the disadvantages of ‘friendship’ groups and ‘left-over’ groups!). Name the groups A, B, C, D, E.
  2. Set the context for the problem-generation phase. For example, the problems of working with learners on an ‘enterprise’ module could be addressed by asking everyone to think individually of their worst nightmares in the context of working with such learners, and jotting down individually on one or more post-its their nightmare in the format of ‘what could I do when…’
    (Completions in this particular instance may well to include ‘…a learner repeatedly doesn’t turn up?’, or ‘…a learner won’t join in?’, or ‘…a learner becomes aggressive to other learners?’, or ‘…I run out of ideas to use with the group?’, or ‘…time runs out when I am only half-way through an exercise?’ and so on).
  3. When each learner has jotted one or more problem-questions down, ask the groups to prioritise the problems identified in by their group members, and work out the most important to tackle (or the most difficult to tackle), then the next most important, and so on. 
  4. Ask group A to read out their top completion of the ‘What can I do when…’ starter, and write it up exactly in their words, on a slide or flipchart. Then ask group B for their problem, then group C and so on, writing them up in turn. If a group comes up with a problem too similar to those already written onto the slide or flipchart, ask the group for their second-most-important problem and so on.
  5. Set the ground-rules for the report-back from the groups. Group A’s question goes first to Group B, where one person described what they might do to address the problem. Only one person can speak; it sometimes takes a little time for a volunteer to come forward. Next, one member of Group C is sought to respond, and so on to Groups D and E in turn. It can be useful to brief Group A to make brief notes of the gist of successive responses.
  6. To respond gets harder as it moves from Group B onward. Each successive respondent must think of a different response from those which may already have been given. At this stage, the facilitator may choose to throw in one or two further solutions, if the groups have missed anything important in their responses.
  7. Finally, Group A, who own the question are asked to consider the responses from Groups B-E (plus any offered by the facilitator), picking the best one, and coming up with any further alternatives they have thought of. All members of Group A can join in this discussion.
  8. Next the question from Group B goes in turn to Groups C, D, E and A, again only one member – a different member of the group coming up with a solution. In the event of too long a pause, the person from the group concerned who answered last-time round can nominate someone from their group to respond.
  9. Continue until all five questions have gone round the groups.

This process means that just about everyone has a turn at answering one of the ‘What can I do when…’ questions. If there were six groups of five members, everyone would have a turn, but it is probably best to leave the flexibility of one person in each group not being required to answer, in case any of the learners has a particular problem with ‘being put on the spot’ in this way. However, if a second round of questions is then generated, the response can start in each group with the person who did not speak in the first round.

An alternative way of running this exercise includes asking for ‘what would make this situation worse?’ (i.e. ‘what I should not do when …? responses – ‘negative brainstorming’).

This can be great fun for a second round of the whole exercise.

Skill Development:

  1. Identification of problems individually, followed by discussion and prioritisation of problems in groups.
  2. Refining of an identified problem, by turning it into the ‘what can I do when…?’ format.
  3. Oral quick-thinking and communication, as each group member responds to a ‘what can I to when…’ question.
  4. Building on what has been already said earlier in the round, when the next respondent has to in effect think of ‘what else can I do when…?’ as responses can not be repeated as the round continues.
  5. Listening to the various responses by the group ‘owning’ the question, noting down the gist of each for subsequent discussion, then analysing the pros and cons of the various responses.
  6. ‘Negative brainstorming’, if the exercise includes ‘What would make this situation worse?’, which can often yield further ideas for actual solutions to the problem.

Resources:

  • Post-its for individuals to jot down ‘nightmares’ to base their ‘what can I do when …?’ questions upon.
  • More post-its (possibly a different colour) for groups to write their final versions of ‘what can I do when…?’ questions down on, before prioritising which they want to submit to the other group rounds.
  • A few pens to give away if needed.
  • Flipchart or PowerPoint display to show the questions.

 References:

  • Race, P. (2014) ‘Making Learning Happen: 3rd edition’, London: Sage. (Note that one Chapter of this book is entirely composed around ‘what can I do when …? questions, (in the broad context of teaching, learning, feedback and assessment), each followed by the sort of responses which can be given by participants working in the creative-problem-solving mode described in the above activity).
  • Race, P. (2015) ‘The Lecturer’s Toolkit; 4th edition’, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • http://phil-race.co.uk

About the Author
This guide was produced by Professor Phil Race.

Communication Icebreaker Presentation Challenge (QAA 1,7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Small group (teams of 4-6)

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Lecture Theatre

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation 7Communication and Strategy

Objectives:

1.The group will be able to become comfortable with one another through humour and through the use of an Ice Breaker

2.Skills such as confidence talking in front of people will be used

3.Marketing and Selling skills will be used

Overview:

The aim of this Icebreaker is for everyone in the group to talk for one minute on a given subject. This is a great Icebreaker if your group will be using communication and talking as their main source of developing ideas throughout the rest of the session.

Subjects can range from something ridiculous like 'Why Chocolate Is A Vegetable' or 'Ten Uses For A Paperclip' to topics that are relevant to what you are working on in the session; 'Important Things To Consider When Planning An Event' (event management) or '10 components of manufacturing process' or 'safety lessons in lab work'.

You should choose the subjects based on what your needs and outcomes are. If you are using it to make participants more comfortable and relaxed, then go for a fun topic. If you are using it to get your participants brains active and ready, or in order to get a base line of their knowledge and understanding across the group, then choose a topic that is more challenging and stimulating and course/programme related.

Activity

How to play:

The facilitator announces the topic, and a member of the group is randomly selected to speak for one minute. Alternatively the topics could be in a hat, and members of the group draw their topic from there.

The person who is selected must take their topic and speak for one minute, or as long as they can last. Timing them on a stopwatch is a good idea, but this can make it more competitive. You could even offer prizes for those who last the full minute.

Continue to select people until everyone has had the chance to speak.

Skill Development:

The focus here is on getting the group to be comfortable talking and interacting with each other, especially if they don't know, or know very little about each other previous to the session.

After the Icebreaker the group could reflect on what they enjoyed and what they found difficult about the task, identifying areas of themselves that they can improve and work on in the future.

You can focus the knowledge/learning by drawing our key understanding of the topic as well as explore what was made memorable through effective presentation skills.

Resources:

  • Pre prepared topics on pieces of paper
  • A hat or receptacle to put the topics into
  • Buzzer or timer

References:

One Minute Please – Mental Health Icebreaker - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CxPZ65UeMg

About the Author
This guide was produced by ARP ABi.

Communication Clarification Group Task (QAA 7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Any

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

This simple activity helps participants understand that even the simplest task is open to interpretation, illustrating the importance of good communication.  

The Paper Tear exercise teaches people to think for themselves and to ask clarifying questions.

Overview:

An Icebreaker exercise that can be used to illustrate a simple point of the importance of clear communication.  This Icebreaker uses a piece of paper and the participants interpretation to show how people see things very differently.

Activity:

Give each seated participant a half piece of A4 ask them to close their eyes.
Ask them to fold the piece of paper in half. Ask them to tear off the upper right corner.
Have them fold the piece of paper in half again. Ask them to tear off the upper right corner again.
And one more time, ask them to fold the paper in half And tear off the upper right corner one last time.
Ask the group to open their eyes and show everyone their original work of art.

[Note:  Each paper will be different because the individuals chose to:
–  fold the paper in different ways –  tear off different corners (his or her interpretation of “upper right corner”) –  different size tears]

Skill Development:

When exploring and debriefing this activity, communication can be explored and the role of questioning discussed.  The potential to have an open dialogue can be explored and consideration of how decisions can be impacted from an incorrect “original” decision.  It is therefore important to explore the root of activity going awry, and how blame/lack of information needs to be handled in order to deliver on a task.

This activity is great to illustrate how different everyone is, how everyone responds differently to instructions, and how it is important to have an open dialogue and illustrate the point that it is always better to ask questions and have an open dialogue. 

As facilitator, you can pretend to be surprised and say something like; ‘I gave everyone the same directions, yet look at how different the papers are! Did you listen?’ 

Resources:  

A4 Pieces of Paper for each person

A Compendium of Pedagogies: THE USE OF AN ELEVATOR PITCH (QAA 7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Individual Task

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Presentation Space

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

The main benefits of this approach are to enable students to pick up the skills to summarise something in a focused and precise way. The outcome is often that they are aware how important lucky opportunities can be in entrepreneurship and to prepare for such opportunities should they occur.

Overview:

An Elevator Pitch (or Elevator Speech) is a brief overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The pitch is so called because it can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (say, thirty seconds or 100-150 words). The term is typically used in the context of an entrepreneur pitching an idea to a venture capitalist to receive funding. Venture capitalists often judge the quality of an idea and team on the basis of the quality of its elevator pitch, and will ask entrepreneurs for the elevator pitch to quickly weed out bad ideas. 

Activity:

In the entrepreneurship educators programme the elevator pitch is used to force participants to think carefully about their personal strengths and to be confident about these by making an explicit pitch. Within the entrepreneurship educators programme it is used to give participants experience of an elevator pitch. The basic approach is to invite individuals to develop their pitch beforehand with a strict time limit (usually 1 to 3 minutes). Participants are asked to compete in front of a panel of judges equipped with agreed judging criteria. Participants are lined up to encourage swift movement from one participant to another and they are timed – a whistle is blown at the end of the time and they must then depart.

Skill Development:

Elevator Pitches are commonly used in US Enterprise Education and are often used in business plan competitions. The purpose is to force students to prepare a short and focused explanation of their business should they have the opportunity to pitch it to somebody in an informal situation. It is an encouragement to think out the core of the business and find attractive ways of putting it over.

Resources:

  • A Compendium of Pedagogies for Teaching Entrepreneurship. Professor Alan Gibb and Professor Alison Price - Download (PDF)

References:

About the Author
This guide was produced by Professor Allan Gibb and Professor Alison Price.

Introducing Interactivity in Large Group Teaching (QAA 1,3,7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Large Group

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Lecture Theatre

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation 3Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement 7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

Engaging large groups of students in delivery and content interactively can be a challenge, often made more difficult by the lay-out of teaching spaces.  Using the potential of the mobile or smart phone for texting, voting, or twitter can engage all the individuals in the room, allowing them to ask questions that are unlikely to be raised as questions during a traditional lecture format.

Overview:

Engaging students in their learning, particularly in the static environment of large lecture theatres is a challenge.  However learners are likely to have smart phones available to them during class and rather than banning them from the room, it can be more engaging to encourage your students to use their phones to raise questions, vote and share their opinions or indicate their views on specific topics.  By developing your traditional‘lecture’ style to involve decision points, questions or votes, you can check understanding in the room, and if you wish to use specialised text apps or features (such as Twitter or voting apps) you can open your entire input to comment and reaction.

Activity:

This activity can be incorporated into your traditional large group teaching (particularly with large group or in lecture theatre) and although it doesn’t specifically take much time to set up and engage them, you need to ensure that you allocate time for discussion of any points within class to review and clarify the learning.  By creating point of engagement, or inviting students to comment you can change the dynamic of your lectures and develop a ‘conversation’ not only with the learners and yourself, but also across the learners together.

Note of caution: obviously this approach needs consideration relating to the age range and appropriateness of this type of engagement.  There are issues of privacy when using texts (phone numbers) and providing open communication, such as a full twitter ‘wall’ can lead to humour and irrelevant topics appearing on the screen which become distracting to your educational message. You however have the choice to open this screen fully to your students throughout the class, making all communications visible (if using twitter etc) either on a screen or through individual phones or lap tops, or you can keep this dialogue direct to you.  Ownership of accounts (such as in twitter) create a more direct link to individuals without disclosing personal contact details, but it is important to agree ground rules of respect to avoid any trolling of those actively engaging.  Typically students are responsible when engaging with this public forum, but it is important that you are clear about the need to respect contributions and those making them.

Skill Development:

In allowing the learners to voice their concerns, vote on their views and share their feelings or confusion you are opening up their learning experience and showing that other students, as well as themselves as individuals, can develop and deepen their understanding through discussion and clarification.  The skill of concise and effective communication is displayed in the voting and within the precision of short texts or 140 characters in twitter.  This task builds confidence if you, as the tutor, welcome comment and develop the “conversation” with your learners.  It is important to acknowledge questions and areas of concern and respond within the class, or specifically state when you will review this topic further, to create a legitimate feedback loop between yourself and students.

Resources:

Note: Check that students have access to mobile or smart phones and that they are happy to engage in learning by sending text messages (many phone packages allow for free texts but it is important to understand the group perception/position on undertaking this task before starting as it may involve expense).  If wifi is available, then many of the features of apps will be free to use and typically university students have access to institutional wifi in order to engage. However you need to check that your particular teaching room will support your proposed activity without students incurring costs to engage.
A little preparation can be needed (either for individuals to prepare (or establish an account) and/or  the tutor to  establish twitter accounts or to familiarise yourself as the tutor with specific apps, such as Poll Everywhere http://www.polleverywhere.com/ or a twitter wall to display (such as https://tweetwall.com/ or similar).   There are lots of different applications available which will display tweets, or visually display votes or words from students, many free to use, so consider the constraints of your teaching room (such as wifi enabled etc) and encourage your learners to be prepared in advance by making any downloads required.

References:

About the Author
This guide was produced by Alison Price.

Creating an agenda for future sessions from learners’ contributions (using post-its) (QAA 1)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Large Group

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Lecture Theatre

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation

Objectives:

• Learners are given the opportunity to compose questions about a topic new to them; (links to intended learning outcomes)
• Learners are enabled to contribute things they already know about a new topic; (links to learning incomes)
• Learners are helped to learn from what each other already knows;
• Learners can gain confidence finding out that many others have similar questions.


Overview

This exercise greatly increases the ownership felt by learners about the curriculum content in a series of classes or lectures. This post-it exercise can usefully be a main part of the first lecture in a series on a topic or module. After a brief introduction to the ‘big picture’ of what is to be addressed in forthcoming sessions, learners are issued with a blue post-it and a pink post-it. They are given the opportunity to anonymously jot down (1) a question they believe could be important about the topic (pink post-it), and (2) something they already know about the topic (blue post-it).
They are then helped to look at each others’ post-its (both kinds).
The post-its are then collected by the teacher/lecturer, who uses them to plan the start of the next session in the series.

Activity
Session 1
1. Brief the learners very quickly (no more than two slides, or five minutes orally) about the main subject matter to be addressed in the forthcoming series about the topic or theme concerned. It can be useful at this stage to show on a slide (but not expand upon) the intended learning outcomes relating to the topic.
2. Issue blue and pink post-its, one to each learner (other colours if necessary of course).
3. Brief learners to write privately (and in clear handwriting) on the pink post-it one question about the topic, which they think may be important, but to which at this stage they do not know the correct (or best) answer to. Make the point that there’s no such thing as a silly question, and that it’s OK not to know the answers at this stage.
4. Then brief learners to use their blue post-its to write down one thing that they do already know about the topic. “Everyone knows something about anything” you might say. Encourage them to write down something interesting, or fascinating, or unusual if they can. Explain that at this stage it does not matter at all if what they know turns out to be wrong.
Steps 2-4 usually take no more than five minutes.
5. Ask learners to pass their post-its around, so they can look at each others’ questions, and the things their classmates already know about the topic. Learners’ confidence can often be seen to be increasing rapidly, when they see that several other learners have written similar questions to their own (“it wasn’t a silly question after all!”), and they are often quite fascinated by the things that others in the group have written on their blue post-its (“Well, I didn’t know that!”).
[optional] Suggest that learners spotting someone else’s question on a pink post-it could add a tick for ‘me too’ if they also want to find out the answer to the question.
Depending on the size of the group, and how interesting the learners find this task, this can usefully take 20 minutes or so.
6. When most learners have had the opportunity to look at most of the post-it entries, ask them to stick the post-its onto two charts, one for pink post-its (questions) and the other for blue post-its (things they already know).
7. This is probably most of the first session used up (if for example lecture slots are around 50 mins), and if so, only do general interest things until the end of the session, but take the charts with the respective post-its away with you.
8. Look through the pink post-its for recurring questions, addressing important topics in the curriculum, and linking well to one or more of the published intended learning outcomes. Look also for blue post-its which suggest that their owners already know the answers to these common questions. Prepare a slide as follows…
9. ‘37 of your pink post-its from the last session were similar to the following (very good) question: “…..” Hands-up if your question was similar to this one. Now hands up if you too want to find out the answer to this question’.


Session 2

10. Use the slide as above, then announce ‘Eleven of you probably know the answer to this question – I know this from what you wrote on your blue post-its! Hands up if you know the answer, and please keep your hand raised, until three or more people who don’t know the answer move to near you. Now, those who know the answer, talk your classmates through it.
11. You can then go on to another recurring question, with the same processes.

This kind of activity allows ownership of the important questions by members of the class, and the fact that other class members can share answers to these questions, rather than the teacher/lecturer providing the answers.

Skill Development:

This activity allows teachers/lectures to develop skills and confidence in allowing learners to contribute significantly to shaping the way that important questions are addressed in class.
It is also very comforting to learners entering a new topic to find out that many of their classmates have similar questions that they want or need answers to, and reassuring that lecturers/teachers take their questions seriously enough to base future class sessions on addressing them.

Resources:

A slide or two of very broad-brush briefing notes about the topic to be addressed in a series of sessions;
Pink and blue post-its, sufficient for one (or more) each for each learner:
Flipchart sheets for learners to stick the post-it onto, after the sharing activity;
Pens to give away for those who come without anything to write with!

References:


Race, P. (2014) ‘Making Learning Happen: 3rd edition’, London: Sage.
Race, P. (2015) ‘The Lecturer’s Toolkit; 4th edition’, Abingdon: Routledge.
http://phil-race.co.uk

About the Author
This guide was produced by Professor Phil Race.

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Case Examples

Highlighting the Importance of Commercial Skills to Cardiff University Optometry Students (QAA 1, 6)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Small group (teams of 4-6)

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Carousel Tables (small working group)

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation 6Interpersonal Skills

Objective:

Key points;

  • This short intervention saw Cardiff University Enterprise drop in and conduct an awareness-raising session using the business strategy game, XING; 
  • Delivered to optometrists soon to enter pre-registration prior to becoming professional practitioners.
  • Offered an interesting, competitive and active means of introducing learners to the commercial process, key roles and stages involved and related business terminology as applied within an optometry related setting.
  • Provided opportunity for students to engage in a range of important team based enterprise skills.

Introduction:

In early 2013 Cardiff University Enterprise delivered a two hour enterprise intervention session to 88 third year Optometry students which aimed to raiseawareness of the relevance of business and commercial skills to Optometry graduates by highlighting their role in the founding and running of an Optometry practice.

This was achieved via the use of XING, a business strategy game that simulates the founding and development of a business whilst fostering creativity, communication, decision making, team collaboration and business planning skills.

For graduates soon to enter pre-registration and then the workplace as practising optometrists, an understanding of commercial drivers, processes and ethics as they apply within the optometry sector is a valuable asset.

The QAA Optometry benchmarks document (2007) highlight a range of key professional skills expected of Optometry graduates. These include as examples, communication and interpersonal, recognition of role within multidisciplinary teams, autonomous learning, problem solving, flexibility, time management and organisational management. Elsewhere the document asserts the need for graduates to be aware of the legal and commercial restraints within which optometry operates and an ability to translate theoretical knowledge into practice in a clinical setting.

The General Optical Council emphasises the need for optometry business registrants to operate in an informed, professional and ethical manner for the benefit of both patient and practitioner. The guidelines offered by the GOC incorporate elements of commercial and enterprise awareness as they are applied within a corporate optometry setting.

Activity:

The session began with class discussion as to what commercial awareness is and how it can be of value to optometrists. As you would expect discussion tended towards ideas of founding or working for a private optometry practice and consideration of how key corporate or ‘chain’ businesses / employers operate within the field. Providing opportunity for students to themselves identify the relevance of commercial awareness to future professional ambitionserved to provide context and investment in the group exercise which followed.

Following the discussion students were provided with a brief scene setting scenario which challenged them to generate business strategy and plans for founding and developing a new private optometry practice. In groups of eight to twelve and using XING packs, learners were required to collaboratively generate ideas, plan, problem solve, decision make and negotiate in order to create a considered business strategy that addressed relevant business start-up goals, processes and challenges they might expect to encounter along the way. Cardiff University Enterprise staff facilitated the exercise by guiding students through the various component activities and providing appropriate business advice and clarification as needed in order for learners to complete the task.

The XING exercise concluded with presentations complemented by class question and answer sessions focussing on each group’s completed business strategies, the decisions made and their justifications. This was followed by a general round up and class based discussion reflecting on what had been learnt and the value such learning may have for a newly qualified optometrist about to become a professional practitioner.

Students in action

What is XING?

Xing provides a practical and visual form of business planning which introduces different elements of a business plan such as key roles, processes and stages. Introducing learners to technical terminology and business English (particularly useful for overseas and non-business students), it supports enterprise skills development, for example presentation, creativity, meeting and group management, collaborative problem solving, project planning. It provides an active and involving means of introducing business learning whilst relating it to disciplinary learning via the authoring of an appropriate scenario. Through the group based activity students gain experience of working in teams, establishing goals, mediating decisions whilst providing 

opportunities to reflect on these types of activity and evaluate outcomes.

XING offers a range of benefits for participants: Students quickly learn to take ownership through challenging, engaging and competitive tasks; It encourages learners to consider enterprise oriented employment be it by the application of their own business ideas through self-employment or via enterprising roles within organisations; XING can also aid students in their preparation for work related learning or placements.

Impact:

The intervention achieved its intended goals of introducing and raising awareness of the value of commercial awareness to optometrists soon to enter professional practice. Anecdotal student feedback was extremely positive.  

Learner Outcome:

During the concluding class discussion a number of student comments highlighted the value and apposite timing of the session in the context of their degree programme. It was mentioned that a lot was learnt in a short space of time through the XING exercise. The exercise was generally felt to have provided an enjoyable and interesting route into a subject that could potentially have been quite abstract and terse. The opportunity to actively engaging in commercial thinking was viewed as a positive and useful by participants.

The examples of curriculum development for enterprise related outcomes were originally outlined by Neil Coles at the International Enterprise Educators Conference under the heading 'From Archaeology to Zoology; an A-Z of enterprise in the curriculum'. For his work in contextualising enterprise for any subject, Neil won the 2013 National Enterprise Educator Award.

Resources:

N/A

References:

Author/Contact Details:

 

 

About the Author
This guide was produced by Neil Coles (Senior Enterprise Learning Officer, Cardiff University). If you would like to contact the author, please use this email address:- enterprise@cardiff.ac.uk.

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Embedding Entrepreneurship

If you or your students are interested in developing a business idea, becoming self-employed/freelance or creating a business here are some tools to help and also some links to business start-up support.

How To Guides

These guides have been selected to build QAA (2018) entrepreneurship skills in your teaching.


Teaching Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach - EXERCISE: AIRPLANE CONTEST (QAA 1,5,7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Small group (teams of 4-6), Large Group

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Carousel Tables (small working group), Special

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation 5Reflection and Action 7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

  • Practice pitching new concepts.
  • Critique pitches for new concepts.
  • Understand the importance of pitch versus idea. 
  • Simulate prototype development and feasibility testing.

Overview:

Rocket pitches or elevator pitches are often the first opportunity for an entrepreneur to convince potential investors that they have an idea that represents a profitable opportunity. These are often only one to five minute presentations, but they can have a significant impact on the entrepreneur’s ability to attract investors as well as other potential stakeholders. This can be particularly true in the early stages of a venture before the entrepreneur has a viable product, and he or she has to quickly convince potential stakeholders of his or her vision and the potential of the idea. Entrepreneurs often think that their idea is the most important aspect of the pitch, but studies have shown that U.S. venture capitalists consider personal characteristics such as the entrepreneur’s ability to articulate his or her venture to be critical in determining whether or not they will reject an entrepreneur’s plan.

In this exercise, students design a paper airplane that must be capable of carrying a predetermined amount of currency in the form of coins. The airplanes will compete in two categories – time that the plane can stay aloft and the distance it can travel. However, students pitch their design to their classmates (the investors) in an effort to convince them their design is the best before the contest takes place. 

The exercise has worked well for illustrating the importance of a good pitch and helps students to better understand what constitutes a good pitch from an investor’s perspective.

Usage Suggestions

This exercise works with both undergraduate and graduate students. It is appropriate for new venture creation courses, entrepreneurship boot-camps, or workshops. The session is best positioned after students have identified a venture concept, project, or family or corporate initiative to pursue and are preparing for an elevator speech or rocket pitch type presentation. Technology entrepreneurship or innovation classes are also appropriate.

Activity:

Pre- Work Required by Students

Students are to be given the following instructions in the class period prior to running the exercise: “You are to design and create a new paper airplane capable of keeping one U.S. dollar of coins aloft for as long (time) as possible while simultaneously transporting the coins as far (distance) as possible. The assignment is as follows:

  1. You may work individually or in a group of up to four students; the only group-related implication is that your airplane design must use the same number of standard size sheets as the number of people in the group (for example, a group of four must create an airplane that uses four sheets of paper in its design). 
  2. Your plane must be designed to transport one U.S. dollar of coinage (or other local currency). You may choose the number and denominations of coins used; your only constraint is that their total value be exactly one dollar. 
  3. You may not simply crumple the paper into a ball, as this would constitute a projectile rather than an aerodynamically sensitive aircraft- based design.

You will be required to pitch your design to your classmates. You will have two minutes to convince your classmates that your design will perform the best. Performance on the exercise will be based on a combination of actual performance of your airplane and the number of votes your design gets from your classmates in each category (time and distance).”

Time Plan (80 minutes)

Because each team will pitch their idea, the time required for the exercise will vary with class and team size. The timing outlined here is based on a class size of 30 students and ten teams.

Step 1 0:00–0:02 (2 minutes) 

Begin the exercise by explaining the voting rules to the students. Students are allowed to vote for only one team (excluding their own) in each of the two categories (distance and time). They are not required to vote for the same design in each category. It helps to provide a sheet for each of the students to record their votes, or, if your students have computers and internet access, you can use an online voting system (this will require you to set it up before the class).

Step 2 0:02–0:27 (25 minutes) 

Next, have each team pitch their idea to their classmates. Teams should be strictly limited to two minutes each.

Step 3 0:27–0:32 (5 minutes) 

Have the students record their votes for the design they think will perform best in each category. Remind them that they cannot vote for their own design.

Step 4 0:32–0:52 (20 minutes)

Take the class to an open area in which to conduct the actual flights. An indoor area such as a gymnasium works best, but you can run it outdoors as well (which can introduce additional uncertainty into the performance for the students). Each team gets one throw. You should have a line that they cannot cross for throwing, and you should record the time that their plane stays aloft. After the plane has landed, measure and record the distance. It helps if you assign this task to one or more of the students.

Step 5 0:52–1:00 (8 minutes) 

Return to the classroom. Record the votes and the actual performance for each team on the board.

Step 6 (exercise debrief) 1:00–1:20 (20 minutes) 

If time allows, you can have a short discussion about their process with regard to creating their design. This can help to illustrate how an entrepreneur can take a constraint and turn it into an opportunity. Additionally, this can highlight the importance of prototyping and learning from failure, and many of the teams that perform well often trial several different designs. Some possible questions include:

  • How did they view the issue of the coins? 
  • Did they see it as a negative constraint? Why? 
  • Did they see it as an opportunity to incorporate it into the design and improve its performance? 
  • How did they try to differentiate their design? 
  • Did they try to optimize for time or distance or try both? 
  • Did they prototype and test designs?

Next, discuss the aspect of effective pitching. The idea here is to get them to appreciate the importance of the entrepreneur and his or her pitch to investors. Owing to the uncertainty inherent in many early- stage entrepreneurial ventures, investors will typically put more emphasis on the entrepreneur and his or her ability to “sell” the idea, as well as their confidence in the entrepreneur’s ability to execute on his or her pitch – one has to be careful not to oversell the concept.

  • How did it feel to try to “sell” your classmates on your design?
  • What were the biggest challenges? 
  • How did you decide to invest? 
  • How important was the way in which they presented the concept? 
  • Confidence? 
  • What was compelling about the pitch or the entrepreneur? 
  • Why do you think people did or did not vote for your design?
  • What would you do to improve your pitch?

Wrap the discussion up with a summary of the importance of clearly articulating your idea and convincing the audience of your ability to execute on your idea.

Post- Work

Have the students read the following articles (this can be done beforehand if you prefer):

  • Elsbach, K.D. 2003. How to pitch a brilliant idea. Harvard Business Review, 81(9), 117–23. 
  • Santinelli, A., and Brush, C. 2013. Designing and Delivering the Perfect Pitch. Wellesley, MA: Babson College Case Collection.

Teaching Tips

Students will often try to game the system (depending on how much freedom you give them). For example, they may choose to use different weights of paper or design a flying disc as opposed to a traditional airplane. You can decide how vague you want to be. If you want to have more discussion on the creative process and pushing the boundaries, then being more vague in the instructions can lead to a good discussion on how entrepreneurs try to push the rules and boundaries. Some students will feel “cheated,” but this can still provide a good learning point.

Skill Development: 

Key Takeaways

  • Ability to quickly and clearly articulate an idea is often more important than the idea itself. 
  • Investors often focus on their belief in the entrepreneur’s ability to execute on the idea rather than the idea itself – particularly under conditions of uncertainty. 
  • Prototyping can be an effective way to deal with an unknown environment and develop your product or service.

Resources: 

Materials List

Provide students with paper for their airplanes in order to maintain a standard paper type and weight. Alternatively, you can leave this open to interpretation as a means of encouraging greater creativity among the teams. You will need a tape measure and a stopwatch for the actual competition.

The full text ‘Teaching Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach’ can be purchased here > http://www.amazon.co.uk/Teaching-Entrepreneurship-A-Practice-Based-Approach/dp/1782540695 

References:

This exercise is taken from;

  • Heidi M. Neck, Patricia G. Greene and Candida G. Brush, 2014. Teaching Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach (pp.131 – 135). Edition. Edward Elgar Pub.

Attribution

  • Reginald A. Litz, Dell McStay, Sergio Janczak, and Carolyn Birmingham, “Kitty hawk in the classroom: A simulation exercise for facilitating creative and entrepreneurial behavior,” United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) 2011 conference – Entrepreneurship: Changing the Present, Creating the Future, South Carolina, United States, January 2011.

Theoretical Foundations

MacMillan, I.C., Siegel, R., and Subba Narisimha, P.N. 1985. Criteria used by venture capitalists to evaluate new venture proposals. Journal of Business Venturing, 1, 119–28. 

Ries, E. 2011. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York: Crown Publishing.

About the Author
This guide was produced by Bradley George.

A model for an Interdisciplinary intrapreneurship-entrepreneurship module (QAA2,3,4,7)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Any

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

2Opportunity recognition‚ creation and evaluation 3Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement 4Implementation of ideas through leadership and management 7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

  • The learner will understand the importance of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour in the context of their subject area
  • Will engage with subjects outside their discipline to pitch for and explore ideas and concepts
  • To reflect and draw personal conclusions about their capacities and capabilities for entrepreneurial behaviour
  • To research and persuade others of the feasibility and viability of their ideas
  • To conclude with a ‘live’ opportunity which they can research and develop further through a research project/dissertation, employment or a new business venture

Overview: 

This type of module is appropriate on applied courses, or courses ‘with enterprise’. It is especially valuable where students from a range of disciplines are taught together, invited to ‘bring their discipline and interests with them’ (of course, discipline and interests are not always/often synonymous, and this approach helps with that!)

Activity: 

Students engage in a shared first lecture, setting the context for the module, discussing, and responding to individual learner expectations, and an introduction to innovation, delivered by an inventor, which asks the students to invest in one of a series of inventions, based on a case study of each in practice. They are encouraged to reflect on their choice, and in particular the reasons why they feel that their chosen option represents most value.

In week 2 students return to their own discipline (or choose an area of interest based on the available disciplines) and a session is led by academics and industry guests/entrepreneurs focussing on ‘the current and future trends in the XYZ industry’. This tends to be ‘products for users in Science and Engineering’ subjects (e.g. pets and children), and ‘approaches’ in other subjects (e.g. social and online media). 

Week 3 is a facilitated session in which students join interdisciplinary groups (formulated with as wide a variety of disciplines as possible (e.g. 1xcomputing science, 1xbiology, 1xmarketing and management) and share their findings from the previous week to identify areas of shared interest and the skills each member can contribute.

The remainder of the sessions are built around convincing the module assessors, and industry/entrepreneurs that your emerging idea is worth spending more time, money and effort on developing, and that individual students have the appropriate skills and motivations to deliver on the opportunity. The design of the remaining sessions is aimed at students achieving this objective. Remaining module content and tools can be designed together with the students, using flipped classroom, online resources, and update meetings alongside taught lecture material.

Skill Development: 

The confidence gained by the students is seen as they engage with each other and with externals (industry experts).  They are exposed to entrepreneurship through opportunity spotting and evaluation, and through building their reflective and persuasive/selling skills.  By working in teams they are building collaborative approaches to problem solving and task completion.

Resources: 

Planned engagement – including engagement of academics, entrepreneurs and industry partners in each discipline where a student originates.

Time to coach groups individually, access to mentors or online interaction.

About the Author
This guide was produced by Katie Wray.

Business Idea Competition: Stimulating and Supporting Entrepreneurship in the Highlands and Islands (QAA1234567)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Any

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

1Creativity and Innovation 2Opportunity recognition‚ creation and evaluation 3Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement 4Implementation of ideas through leadership and management 5Reflection and Action 6Interpersonal Skills 7Communication and Strategy

Objective:

  • To stimulate entrepreneurial effectiveness (QAA 2012) cross campus
  • To demonstrate entrepreneurial practice across the region
  • To promote creative thinking, problem solving and wider entrepreneurial skills

Introduction: 

Each year an institution and region wide Business Idea Competition is run as a broad tool to stimulate and support entrepreneurship in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The competition promotes creative thinking and problem solving for learners at all stages of the learning journey including upon graduation. Our institution comprises a network of tertiary colleges and research centres, spread across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The competition was devised and is organised by Create, an Enterprise and Innovation Learning centre based within Inverness College UHI and delivered across the university and all partner institutions including the surrounding Highlands and Islands community (subject to T&Cs).

Activity: 

The competition is supported across campus to significantly raise ‘Enterprise Awareness’ (via induction, workshops, talks, e-comms), develop ‘Entrepreneurial Mindset’ (through intensive engagement and support to submit entries to the competition with learners from all faculties) and for some students (who progress in the competition and beyond) to start to develop their ‘Entrepreneurial Capabilities’. We have examples of this being delivered as an extra curricula workshop/activity and within the curriculum as a tool to aid experiential learning.

The competition opens in August each year and is promoted widely across the university, all colleges and research centres and in the local community.  Lecture ‘shouts’ and workshops have proven to be the most effective technique to engage the broadest range of staff and learners.  Short films are included on our website to give tips on entering. 

Online entries seek information on an idea, inspiration, resources, next steps rather than a business plan. It was inspired by the culturally popular ‘Dragons Den’ but was dubbed the friendly ‘Highland Dragons Den’. Plenty of support is provided for developing application, pitching and presenting.  Independent and experienced judges are engaged each year and relevant follow-up support and advice is offered to all entrants. For winning entrants, start-up support is offered in addition to cash prizes.

Impact: 

CREATE has worked closely with regional partners and the business community to ensure the competition reaches the maximum potential budding entrepreneurs across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  The competition was launched in 2006 with 27 entrants and has grown significantly to 150 entrants in 2014 representing all industry sectors and parts of the region.  Subsequent business start-ups in both the commercial and social sector have proved to be a recognised economic benefit to the region.  

In addition to business start-up, it is considered that the competition also has two key impacts: it significantly enhances ‘Enterprise Awareness’ across curricula areas (both academic/careers staff and students); and helps to encourage stronger working relationships with local business and enterprise support organisations.

Learner outcome: 

This activity shows how education ‘for’ enterprise can successfully engage a wide range of students, staff and members of the community both within and outside the curriculum. Over the years, more teaching and career staff are building in this opportunity as an awareness raising and experiential tool for learners at all levels. Those who participate, are extremely positive about the experience and can articulate evidence of creative thinking, opportunity spotting, and business awareness and, for those who proceed in the competition, they are able to develop their presentation, commercial awareness and network building skills. They talk of an increase in confidence and greater awareness of ‘know who’ and ‘be known’. Through CPD sessions, more academic staff now have the confidence to introduce these concepts and encourage learners to try this opportunity ‘to make something happen’ which adds to a student’s experience of how it ‘feels’ to be enterprising, which is very much in tune with the philosophy of enterprise education.

For 2015/6, we are extending the competition to early stage start-ups as we find many entrepreneurs start to test their idea earlier each year and still benefit from this type of engagement and encouragement.

Resources: 

Partnership: A critical success factor for this type of region wide initiative is partnership working.  Within the institution, we engage with Deans, Faculty and Subject Leaders as well as Careers and Student Services areas. 

Externally, this initiative has helped to build strong working partnerships which have grown year on year with local enterprise support organisations (Business Gateway, Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland, HISEZ, FirstPort and SIE) together with an extensive range of regional businesses (large corporates and SMEs) who wish to be associated with helping to build a vibrant entrepreneurial culture.

Funding: The activity has been substantially funded by institutional funding with support in the early years from the local enterprise agency, latterly EU funding sources and local council funds. All prizes (£8,000 in 2015) are sourced via sponsorship from local business and enterprise support organisations which CREATE attracts each year.

References:

http://www.createhighland.com/

About the Author
This guide was produced by Carol Langston.

Defining your Customer Base (QAA4,5)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Individual Task

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

4Implementation of ideas through leadership and management 5Reflection and Action

Objective:

  • Develop and demonstrate their understanding of their customers, by describing their characteristics and motivations.

Overview: 

This activity should be undertaken individually by the entrepreneur, then to be discussed with the business development provider or peers in a group situation.  Asking the entrepreneur to explain their answers will help them to deepen their understanding of their customers, help to identify where there are information gaps and therefore what additional market research may be required.

Activity: 

Instructions

Invite the entrepreneurs / small business owner to consider their customers and to describe them in terms of each of the following categories:

  • Demographic, who are your customers?  What is their typical profile in terms of age, gender, income, employment status etc.? 
  • Geographic, where are your customers and where do they buy your products / services?
  • Psychographic, what’s important to your customers? What are their values and aspirations; what kind of lifestyle do they have? 
  • Behaviour, how often and when do your customers buy?

And then describe what the benefits the product or service brings to customers.

My customers …..

The benefit of my product / service to my customers is …..

Skill Development:

By developing analytical and reasoning skills within entrepreneurial learners, it is possible to test assumptions and explore research findings with a clear context of start-up.  This activity focuses upon the understanding of the potential customer and requires research and reflective skills.

About the Author
This guide was produced by Lisa McMullan.

Preparing a Sales Forecast (QAA3,4)

Group Size ? 1.) Small group (teams of 4-6)
2.) Individual Task
3.) Large Group
4.) Any

Individual Task

Learning Environment ? 1.) Lecture Theatre
2.) Presentation Space
3.) Carousel Tables (small working group)
4.) Any
5.) Outside
6.) Special

Any

QAA Enterprise Theme(s) ? 1.) Creativity and Innovation
2.) Opportunity recognition, creation and evaluation
3.) Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement
4.) Implementation of ideas through leadership and management
5.) Reflection and Action
6.) Interpersonal Skills
7.) Communication and Strategy
8.) Digital and Data Skills

3Decision making supported by critical analysis and judgement 4Implementation of ideas through leadership and management

Objective:

  • Understand the factors to consider when producing a sales forecast for their business
  • Understand the implications of variations from forecasts, particularly in terms of receiving payments

Overview: 

This activity is designed to provide an opportunity for the entrepreneur / small business owner to develop their forecasting skills and consider different scenarios of their business performance, specifically in terms of potential sales. 

Activity:

To consider and collate information to produce informed sale forecasts, gather the relevant information:


The Sales Forecast Checklist

  1. Details of any orders secured
  2. List all customers you expect to sell to over the forecast period, and how much you expect to sell to each.
  3. Market research data to support or verify these forecasts. What information have you gathered from potential customers?
  4. Supporting information such as examples from other similar ventures started recently, and drawing from company accounts and other sources.

Using this information prepare a sales forecast by value and volume for each major product group (e.g. for a hotel: bedrooms, restaurant) throughout the period of the business plan – at least 12 months.

 Month 1Month 2Month 3TotalNotes & Assumptions
Product 1          
Unit price          
No. of units sold        0  
Sales income (a) - - - -  
Product 1          
Unit price          
No. of units sold        0  
Sales income (b) - - - -  
Product 1           
Unit price          
No. of units sold        0  
Sales income (c) - - - -  
Total sales (a + b + c) - - - -  

Skill Development: 

This breaks down some of the key thinking and skills of the entrepreneur and allows the students to work through their assumptions.  This can be conducted in groups, or as individuals, allowing students to focus on start-up.

About the Author
This guide was produced by Alison Price.

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If you would like to have your How to Guide featured, please download the template and email the completed version to hello@etctoolkit.org.uk.

We have produced a guidance sheet which will assist you in completing the How to Guide.

If you have any questions regarding completing the template, please Contact Us.

Case Examples

Your Example Here

If you would like to have your Case Study featured, please download the template and email the completed version to hello@etctoolkit.org.uk.

We have produced a guidance sheet which will assist you in completing the Case Study.

If you have any questions regarding completing the template, please Contact Us.

Additional Resources

Cases Studies of Good Practice

Business Start-Up Resources

BOSS stands for the Business Online Support Service, provided by Business Wales. This service provides online learning courses to help people who are thinking about, or actually, starting a business, already running a business or looking to grow their business.

Big Ideas Wales The Big Ideas Wales campaign is part of the Business Wales service, designed to support the next generation of young entrepreneurs in Wales.

Nesta Creative Enterprise Toolkit
Our enterprise resource toolkit contains tried and tested methods for teaching enterprise skills to creative individuals who are thinking about setting up a business.  Available for purchase - with access to resources here http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/cet_worksheets_case_studies_and_tutor_notes.pdf