NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Fall 2010

Instructor Details

Franklin, Cynthia


(212) 998-0055

Appointments are recommended but not required

KMC, 44 W. 4th St, Suite 7-93


Course Meetings

TR, 11:00am to 12:15pm

Tisch T-UC03

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

Course Description

This course will guide you through the thrilling ride that is the entrepreneurial startup process. For the next 14 weeks, we will focus on the how-to’s of identifying and evaluating, researching and planning, and financing and launching a new venture. Along the way, you will draw heavily on what you’ve learned so far at Stern across various disciplines such as finance, marketing, management, and operations.

You will be required to identify a viable business idea then challenged to devise a cogent strategy for bringing that vision to market. The course culminates with you presenting a convincing case for your venture by writing a persuasive business plan and making a compelling pitch (oral presentation) for your idea.

What You Can Expect


Course Outline

Session 1:  9/7/10                
Great Expectations—Yours & Mine

What have you gotten yourself into? | What brings you here? | Course overview | Big Ideas?  | Business Planning Process Overview    

Session 2: 9/9/10

Generating Ideas and Identifying Opportunity
First Screen | Will It Fly? | Developing a Concept Statement

Text: Entrepreneur’s Toolkit (ET), Chap.2 – Finding & Evaluating Opportunity

Session 3:  9/14/10

Understanding Business Models
Key Components

Text: ET, Chap. 4 – Building a Business Model & Strategy            
Packet: Case - Zipcar: Refining the Business Model (HBS)
Assignment:  Submit your proposed venture idea—160 characters or less.

Session 4: 9/16/10
(A) How Business Models & Business Strategies Work Together

5-Steps for Formulating a Business Strategy

Text: ET, Chap. 4 – Building a Business Model & Strategy        

(B) Developing a Breakthrough Model
Dashboarding | Looking for Plan B

Readings - Don’t Reinvent the Wheel, Make It Better, Mullins & Komisar (HBP); Guiding Your Flight Progress, Mullins & Komisar (HBP)
Case – Netflix

Session 5:
(A) Will It Fly?
Validating Your Idea | Conducting Research | Talking to "Customers" | Writing a Feasibility Analysis | Prelude to the Business Plan

(B) Business Plan Overview

Text: ET, Chap. 5 – Writing the Business Plan

Session 6: 9/23/10

Analyzing Your Industry
Understanding Your Industry’s DNA |What Makes an Industry Attractive? | Finding Industry Info

Packet: Case – Staples: A Year in the Life of a Startup (HBS)

Session 7: 9/28/10
Video Presentations: In the Trenches

Lessons Learned from Battle-Tested Entrepreneurs

Assignment:   You will have 3-minutes to “screen” your video profile of an entrepreneur, plus 3-minutes to provide background and 3-minutes for Q&A from the class. (Videos must be emailed by 1:35PM on 9/27 in order to receive credit for this assignment.)

Session 8: 9/30/10
Developing the Marketing Plan

Overview | Purpose | Format

Text: Marketer’s Toolkit
Chap. 1 – Marketing Strategy
Chap. 2 – Creating a Marketing Plan

Session 9: 10/5/10
Board of Advisors Meeting

Peer Brainstorming & Feedback Session

Assignment:  Come prepared to present your Concept Statement, New Venture Dashboard and an update on your Feasibility Analysis. Each student will have 10-minutes to present and get feedback from the class. Use your time wisely. Also, be prepared to share insight and recommendations to your fellow classmates as well.

Session 10: 10/7/10
Researching and Analyzing Your Market

Identifying target market segments | Assessing the competitive environment | Gauging market size and trends | Conducting research

Text: Marketer’s Toolkit
Chap. 3 – Market Research
Chap. 4 - Market Customization

Packet:  Case – Ikea Invades America (HBS)   

Session 11: 10/12/10
Marketplace Differentiation   
Positioning | Competitive strategy | Pricing

Text: Marketer’s Toolkit
Chap. 5 – Competitor Analysis
Chap. 6 - Branding

Session 12: 10/14/10

"How I Did It" - Guest Speaker-TBA

Session 13: 10/19/10
Board of Advisors Meeting

Peer Brainstorming & Feedback Session

Assignment:   Each student will have 5 minutes to present their Feasibility Analysis findings and will receive 5 minutes of feedback from the group.

Session 14: 10/21/10
Sales Strategy & Getting the Right Customers

Making Your First Sale | Customer Acquisition & Retention | Sales Forecasting | Pricing Strategies

Text: Marketer’s Toolkit
Chap. 7 – The Right Customers
Chap. 9 – Pricing it Right

Packet: Case – HubSpot: Inbound Marketing & Web 2.0 (HBS)

Session 15: 10/26/10
Startup Financing

Text:  ET
Chap. 6 – Financing the Business
Chap. 7 – Angels & Venture Capitalists

Packet:         Reading – Bootstrap Financing: The Art of Startups (HBS)      

Session 16: 10/28/10
Preparing Pro Forma Financial Statements  

Handout:  Case - Mix & Match Music    


Session 17: 11/2/10 
Operations Planning & Milestone Setting

Session 18: 11/4/10
Peer Brainstorming & Feedback Session

Assignment: Each student will have 5 minutes to present their draft Marketing Plan and will receive 5 minutes of feedback from the group on the progress made to date.


Session 19: 11/9/10
Building Your Team

Organizational Structure | Ownership | Compensation | Working with a Board | Mentors, Evangelists & Cheerleaders

Packet:   Reading – Boards for a New Venture (Darden)


Session 20: 11/11/10
Legal Considerations for Startups

Corporate structure | Intellectual Property | Agreements
Guest Speaker - TBA

Text:            ET, Chap. 3 – Organizing the Enterprise

Packet:         Reading - Legal Protection of Intellectual Property (HBS)


Session 21: 11/16/10
Feedback Session 1

Each student will meet one-on-one with the instructor for 25 minutes to review strategies for improving the venture plan. There will be no class held this day. However, students are expected to use this time to work on their final plans.

Session 22: 11/18/10
Feedback Session 2

See description for Session 21.


Sessoion 23: 11/23/10
Planning & Managing for Growth

Taking the Venture to the Next Level | Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Text:            ET, Chap. 9 – Enterprise Growth

Packet:         Reading – Why Entrepreneurs Don't Scale (HBS)


11/25             No Class – Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Day!


Session 24: 11/30/10
Presentation Skills Workshop

How to Pitch Your Venture
Guest Speaker


Session 25: 12/2/10
Final Business Plan Presentations
You will have an opportunity to present your business concept to the class and a panel of “investors”. Each student will have 15-minutes to present followed by 10-minutes of Q&A.


Session 26: 12/7/10
Final Business Plan Presentations
You will have an opportunity to present your business concept to the class and a panel of “investors”. Each student will have 15-minutes to present followed by 10-minutes of Q&A.

Session 27: 12/9/10
Final Business Plan Presentations
You will have an opportunity to present your business concept to the class and a panel of “investors”. Each student will have 15-minutes to present followed by 10-minutes of Q&A.    


Session 28: 12/14 /10
No Class – Final business plans are due by 3:45 p.m. You must submit both hard copy and electronic versions.


Required Course Materials

Required Materials


Assessment Components

Your course grade will be based on the following components and weights:


In the Trenches Video Interview                   10%
Feasibility Analysis                                         20%
Business Plan                                                30%
Business Plan Pitch                                      15%
Class Participation                                         15%
Board of Advisors Meetings                          10%

    Total                                                             100%


Below are details about each grade component.

“In the Trenches” Video Interview (10%)

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be quick learners and the smart ones make a point of learning from other’s experiences and mistakes. With that in mind, you are required to interview an entrepreneur who you admire and find interesting. Create a 3-minute video about the most important business lesson(s) they have learned. (Due: 9/28)

Feasibility Analysis 20%

You are required to conduct a 5-page (maximum) feasibility analysis that provides a preliminary assessment of whether or not your concept will fly. (Due: 10/19)

Business Plan 30%

You are required to complete a written business plan. The plan should clearly articulate your business model, describe its potential for financial profitability and communicate the management team’s ability to successfully launch and grow the venture. You will have a maximum of 25 pages (including appendices and financial statements) to make a compelling case for your idea. Business plans must be double-spaced, using 11-point type and 1” margins. (Due: 12/14)

Business Plan Pitch 15%

You are required to make an oral presentation based on your business plan in class to a mock panel of investors. Your 15-minute presentation will be followed by 15-minutes of Q&A. (Due: 12/2, 12/7 or 12/9)

Class Participation & Peer Support 15%

Several factors will impact this portion of your grade. Being in class and being on time is a given. You are expected to come to class thoroughly prepared to discuss the readings, cases and the daily progress you’re making on developing your venture concept. Be ready to offer constructive feedback and support to your classmates that will aid them in developing their ideas. You are also expected to be an active member of our online community whether it’s sharing articles, information or tidbits others find useful, responses to posts by the professor and classmates, reflections on class discussions or readings.

Board of Advisors Meetings 10%

Although you will be working on your project individually, this class is highly collaborative. The ability to collaborate is a critical skill for entrepreneurs. With this in mind, you will serve on the board of advisors for each of your classmates’ ventures. Throughout the semester they will be required to “report” to the Board of Advisors on their progress. The goal is to assist them with troubleshooting any issues encountered developing their venture strategy. They in turn will play the same role for you. When coming before the Board of Advisors, students are expected to be prepared to discuss substantive issues and to demonstrate they are making significant progress developing their plan. You will be evaluated on how well prepared you are during these meetings, the quality of the progress you’re making plus how helpful you are to others.

Additional details for successfully completing each assignment will be discussed in class on posted on Blackboard.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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