MERIT-Kauffman Course


Module Overview


Module 1: Ideate

Assess your entrepreneurial traits and personal priorities to better understand how your business goals might be affected by your strengths or weaknesses and your personal vision.

  • What are the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur?

  • What are my entrepreneurial traits?

  • What is my personal vision?

  • Does my idea fit with my personal vision?

  • Do I need a co-founder? Who should I pick?

Module 2: Position

Any idea will remain an idea, unless there are customers. In this section, you will figure out just who your customers (and competitors) are and where to find them. You will design your business model learn about legal structures and you will start to think about how you will exit your business when the time comes.

  • Is there opportunity, are there customers, who are my competitors?

  • What elements make up my business? And what makes my business special to customers?

  • What legal entity should I use for my business?

  • Based on what I learned, how do I move forward?


Module 3: Commit

In this step, you will focus on your brand, your distribution, and your sales strategy. Finally, you will learn how to protect your intellectual property, your business and protect yourself from legal risks.

  • What is my brand and how can I best communicate that brand message?

  • Will my marketing reach my customers?

  • How will I distribute my product?

  • How much money can I expect from my customers?

  • What startup costs will there be?

  • Do I have any intellectual property?

  • How do I stay on the right side of the law?


Module 4: Refine

In this section you will refine your business before you publicly launch. You will measure and analyze your financial results against your previous predictions. You will consider what people might be needed and think about how to protect the assets of your business. You will learn what advisors and boards might do to help you as you work to launch. You will think about how you might fund your business. Finally, you’ll learn how to build and communicate the plan for your business with potential funders and others.

  • What are your early sales numbers, and what are they telling you?

  • Who might you need to help you in the business?


  • How will you identify, recruit and retain those people?

  • How can you protect your intellectual property as you involve others in your business?

  • Who might you want to help you make decisions and think about the business?

  • How much money will I need and where will you get any money that you need?

Module 5: Launch

In this section, you will learn strategies for launching, leading and developing processes that will allow your business to grow. You will learn about best practices in process management and identify the success metrics that make sense for your business. You will forecast the financial future for your company and think about how to set yourself up for success.

  • What does launching mean, and how can I let more customers know I exist?

  • How can I lead, inspire, and develop a healthy culture for my new business?

  • How should I document the critical processes that allow my business to run smoothly?

  • How will I measure success?

  • Which financial tools can I use to summarize and monitor my predictions?

  • What can I do to improve my business finances?