Business & Entrepreneurship Fundamentals | Portland


Covers the fundamentals of starting and running your own design business that is uniquely tailored to define and meet your personal goals.


In this course, you will create a strategic plan that is based on your unique capabilities and helps you to define and measure your goals culminating in the development and presentation of a business plan for your first year of business.


  • Develop a detailed understanding of your unique personality type and strengths and how they direct the course of your business
  • Develop a one page strategic plan including core purpose, core values, mission statement, key strategic objectives and financial objectives
  • SMART Goals: Define your personal business objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring your first year
  • Develop your businesses positioning statement including target market, key qualifiers, distinctive offering, compelling reason to buy, and competitive differentiators
  • Develop your marketing communications and demand generation plan
  • Create a sales forecast and plan. Learn how to track and forecast your leads and opportunities and convert leads into revenue.
  • Develop your first-year budget
  • Understand key financial concepts and terms including how to read an income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows
  • Develop your business organizational plan including chart of accounts, tax structure, capital structure and organizational plan. Learn practical tools for tracking and measuring your business.
  • Create and present your business plan to your class for final grade and feedback


vintage design

We take an ideas-driven critical thinking approach to our entrepreneurship course to explore other creative businesses such as studio practices, design firms or launching startups.


Mondays, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Fall: Sept. 24 – Oct. 29, 2018
Winter: Jan. 21 – Feb. 25, 2019
Spring: April 15 – May 20, 2019

Week 1 – Know Thyself

Personality Profile – what drives you and makes you different; what challenges must you overcome and organize for?

Define and document your personal why – defining your core values, core purpose and mission statement

SMART Goals – defining your personal business objectives including financial objectives and how to measure success

Week 2 – Know Your Customer

Defining your target market: who and why?

Defining key qualifiers

Defining your unique offering

Understanding and mapping your buyer’s journey

Differentiation – Why buy from you? Your unique offering and distinct message.

Creating a positioning statement

Week 3 – Reaching Your Potential Customer

Mapping your buyer’s journey to your “breadcrumbs”

Innovative ways to attract potential buyers

Define and develop your communication assets

Create a marketing plan – who, what, when and how much – build your model

Week 4 – Turning Potential Customers into Buyers

Tracking potential customers

Understanding and documenting needs and tying to value

Creating proposals

Overcoming objections

Creating invoices and managing accounts receivable

Creating a sales forecast and model

Week 5 – Plan the Work, Work the Plan

Incorporating Your Sales and Marketing Plan

Organizational plan – choosing your type of company and tax structure

Organizational structure – managing employees and contractors

Chart of accounts –tracking and managing revenue and expenses, what to track and how to track it Income Statement – revenue, expenses, gross margin, overhead, EBITDA and profit

Balance Sheet –understanding investments, loans, depreciation

Managing Cash flow – accounts receivable, deposits, collections, managing returns

Quiz – basic accounting terminology and concepts

Week 6 – Present Your Business Plan