You, a person with phenomenal ideas and a passion, has heard it before:
“You really really need a business plan if you’re going to make this work.”
Or maybe you’ve launched your idea, built up a bustling side gig, or even made it full time with a measure of success, but you still have this nagging feeling that you’re missing something. You know there are many possible paths to success, and you want to find the one that matches your unique strengths and values.
( Plus, you might find the idea of sitting in a room by yourself writing a business plan truly, dull and painful. )
The thing is, that most of the time you don’t actually need a formal business plan at all.
You need a strategy, a new set of skills, and a solid understanding of business principles.
In a word, you need a foundation.
At its core, our Basecamp course is an eight-week strategic business planning process. But unlike other short-term programs where you listen, learn, and leave, we engage in active planning together. We support you to gain the skills and knowledge to create a foundation and help you assemble the tools to reach your goals.
Whether you’re dealing with a new idea or an existing organization, successful entrepreneurs must toggle back and forth between planning and implementation seamlessly and quickly. The faster you can start to implement ideas, test them, gather real feedback and adjust the plan, the more confidently you can begin your ascent.
Unlike most other business planning courses, we’re as interested in what drives you personally as your financials. Your happiness and personal drive are as important to your business model as your revenue and funding, and become the essential touchstones for forging your unique path.
More than writing a traditional business plan, you will gain a deeper understanding of how you create value through your business and the skills to continue to grow for years to come.
By taking [Basecamp], we proved to ourselves that we were serious about taking our ideas to the next level. Having a concrete plan to refer to as our idea evolves into reality has been invaluable. The blueprint we created in this class was the foundation for our vision as we opened our shop, and we continue to use the skills we learned as we grow.
-Jonathon Zilber and Collin Shapiro, Philly Style Bagels
Whether you want to dive deep on a new idea or jumpstart an existing project, Basecamp is the place to identify your goals, shape your priorities, and assemble your tools.
How We Do It
Over the course of eight weeks we will meet for 4 in-person intensives covering the core components of your business strategy:
- Your Mission & Vision: What’s the big picture and what’s driving you?
- Your Customer & Product: What are you selling and who are you selling it to?
- Your Financials & Business Model: How does the money work and how do you plan for success?
- Implementation: How to take your plan and make it real.
During our sessions, we will work on the plan together through a combination of exercises and writing, group feedback, and leader support and instruction. We will help you discover the core elements of your business, connect with your purpose, articulate your core values, run the numbers, and understand how to build a business model that works (and works for you).
Beyond covering the core, we dig into why these pillars of business planning matter as you grow, and teach you skills that you will need over and over again as your grow.
At the end of Basecamp, we host a Pitch Day, where you will have the opportunity to talk up your work to a panel of local funders, investors, business leaders, and entrepreneurs. We invite guests who are excited to provide feedback, make introductions, and ask questions to help move from plan to action.
What You Get
4 Group Intensives: The core of your experience is four group sessions over the course of 8 weeks.
Pitch Day: Test-pitch your idea to a group of funders, small business supporters, and philanthropists.
Master Plan Workbook & Financial Model: When the course is complete, you’ll walk away with a comprehensive roadmap for your growth that you can revisit as you hit key milestones.
One-on-One Consulting: We include a one-on-one consulting session with our experienced leaders during the 8-weeks, where we will dig deeper into your specific business needs.
Spring 2017 Session
Wednesday mornings, 9am-12pm
Group Sessions: April 12, April 26, May 10, May 24
Pitch day: May 31
All sessions are held in person at CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 320, Philadelphia.
You choose the payment option that works best for you: one payment of $1279 or four payments of $344, spaced over 12 weeks.
Fee is per entity/business/organization. Once your application is accepted, we will contact you to set up payment.
Apply now through April 7th.
( though, let’s be real, spaces are limited and procrastination is bad for business. )
“[Basecamp] was really helpful in articulating why what we were doing was a business, not just an expertise. It’s nice to be a part of something larger.
-Jessica Clark, Dot Connector Studio
Is this for me?
If you are an entrepreneur, executive, non-profit director, small business owner, or someone with an idea they want to make real, you’ve come to the right place.
- You’ve had a winning idea kicking around for a while, but haven’t had the time (or support) to figure it out.
- You want to build your side gig into a full-time business, and need the foundation to make it happen.
- You’re suspicious of both traditional corporate business models and/or you are fed up with nonprofit martyrdom, and want to figure out what a better structure might look like.
- You’re looking for collaborative support and feedback from peers and experts to get moving and grow.
Who leads the course?
We developed and co-teach Basecamp alongside CultureWorks, forming a dream team combining expertise in the full spectrum of business models, including non-profit, no-just for-profit, and cooperative and alternative business structures. Together, we’re able to give you a broader range of information and point you in your right direction.
The Spring 2017 Session will be co-led by Kate Strathmann of Elysian Fields and Crystal González of CultureWorks.
Is there homework? How much time should I expect to put in outside of in-person sessions?
Most of the actual writing and research for your plan you will do within group session times. The amount of time you want to put in is up to you. As the saying goes, you get what you give, but we recommend setting aside a couple hours a week at a minimum.
We meet every two weeks to give you the time to implement, think, research, and revise your work in-between group sessions.
What if I actually need a formal business plan to show to funders?
The business planning workbook can easily be edited to include only the sections necessary for a formal Business Plan. You’ll leave having worked through most of the components that would go into a formal business plan by the end of the process.
I have one/two/twelve partners in my business/organization, can we all participate?
We understand there may be more than one of you who needs to be involved in the planning. We allow up to two people per entity to participate in the course. If there are more of you, we can chat and help you figure out how to communicate, collaborate, and divvy up the work outside of our group sessions.