It is a cliché, but nevertheless very true. Experience is the best teacher. It is also the best confidence builder. It is time for you to take action! The concepts and skills presented throughout the courses in the specialization are applied in this capstone course where you will launch an actual business.
It will not be a business concept described on paper, but a functional business with legal status in your particular governmental jurisdiction, developed within your available resources whatever they are, and challenged to generate revenue.
One of the greatest benefits of this specialization is the business development environment provided by the population of learners. At the point of the capstone course your thousands of fellow learners become consultants capable of refining and adding value to your business concept, they may also be potential customers or at the very least allow you to observe the likely reactions from potential customers.
With the experience of launching this startup, and the execution capabilities and confidence gain from that experience it is our desire that you repeat the process and launch another startup or a bigger version of this startup. Hopefully going on to launch another, and another, and another, evoking another cliché, 'practice will make perfect'.
Capstone Welcome & Overview
The goal of this assignment is to demonstrate your ability to apply all of the lessons you have completed by putting them to work and launching your own business in some form or fashion. This assignment is the sole assignment of this capstone course, and thus the last requirement for your certificate for this specialization. The primary goal though is for you to no longer be in the wishing stage, the thinking stage, or the taking classes stage, but to be in the 'have started something stage'.
As stated above you will create a business. Specifically:
• you will create and document a legal entity;
• you will create a digital presence for that legal entity;
• you will establish key operational plans (strategy statement, accounting ledgers, production and delivery schedules, and marketing plan); and
• you will produce one of three tangible outcomes (sales, traffic to an e-commerce site, or feedback to business pitch).
A successful assignment will illustrate your competence in the business startup fundamentals, but most importantly it will illustrate to yourself, beyond a shadow of a doubt that YOU CAN DO THIS!
Creating Your Legal Entity
In this module you will be taking the first step toward the launch of your new business by creating a legal entity for your company. (Note: Much of the entity creation process can be handled by the individual, but we do recommend that you speak with an attorney to assist in this process.)
Setting Up Your Bank Account
Now that we've established a business entity you are going to need to have a place to store all of the future revenue you make. In this module you will be tasked with setting up a bank account (or alternative) for the purpose of handling financial transactions related to your business entity. As a reminder it is critically important to try as hard as possible to keep your business and personal finances separate as to avoid any commingling of funds, and to protect personal assets from liability in case of litigation.
Create Your Digital Presence
In today's technologically driven economy your company's digital presence is a critical component in your future success. In this module you will be tasked with building the basics of your digital presence including: website and social media accounts.
Establish Your Financial Statements
Learners will be tasked with developing all three of their financial statements for their company. These are not financial projections but rather established templates / ledgers with defined line items for the Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. Note: Learners may find it beneficial to review the lectures on creating financial proforma statements to refresh terminology.
Create a Path Forward
At this point in the Capstone experience, you will be at one three points: 1) you will have a minimally viable product or service that they will be able to produce and deliver to a paying customer, 2) you will have a minimally viable product or service but currently not capable of delivering to a customer, 3) you do not have a product or service that is nearing a point of delivery. Because of this reality the types of deliverables you will be able to complete at this point will vary and you will be prompted to respond with the based on your operational status.
David Wheeler, Forrest S. Carter and Ken Szymusiak