Business Management

Business Management Curriculum Introduction

The overall objective of the business management curriculum is to help prospective entrepreneurs develop their ideas, find markets for them, generate financial statements and budgets, and navigate the tax issues that arise from being self-employed. There are seven modules in the business management curriculum, each of which addresses a topic that will help entrepreneurs gain traction in developing their idea.

Module 1: Developing Your Idea

This module is a guide for the development of a new product idea and the best ways to market your product and/or business.

Module 2: Market Assessment 

This module covers components related to market assessment, research methods used to collect data needed to prepare a market assessment, and a competitive analysis. Help your students understand that running a successful business means understanding market size (potential volume of sales), the product price, and competition surrounding the product. Without having an understanding of potential market size and possible competition price points, it may not be possible to reach goals.

Module 3: Introduction to Budgets and Financial Statements

This module is meant to introduce your students to the different financial tools and different budgets used to run a business. Start by giving examples of different types of costs (variable and fixed) and explain how these can affect their business during any decision making process. Be ready to discuss the different financial tools and what each includes.

  • The balance sheet identifies the assets and liabilities of the person or business at a certain point in time.
  • An income statement examines income and expenses that result in either a net gain or net loss at that time.
  • A cash flow statement follows the movement of cash entering and leaving the business, usually measured over the course of one year.

Understanding financial statements can help business owners determine whether or not the business or enterprise is performing as expected.

Module 4: Financial Analysis 

This module uses the help of class handouts to explain how to stay on top of financial well-being and maintain a well-rounded business. Profit is used to gauge your level of standing with regard to your competitors or your industry as a whole. Keep in mind that the key to being profitable is to increase your volume, maintain high efficiency, and change your product mix. These strategies allow you to stay current and competitive in business or in your everyday financial life. The break-even point is the point at which your expenses and your income total zero. Above this point you are making a profit; below this point you are losing income. The break-even point is critical to understanding how much you must make to have a profitable or non-profitable business idea. To make changes to your business you must keep track of your decisions. Use the example of a partial budget, which allows you to look at potential changes to be implemented and whether they will have a negative or positive impact.

Module 5: Introduction to American Indian Land Tenure

This module is set up as two sections, with each section consisting of about 1–2 hours of instruction.

  • Module 5.1: Understanding How American Indian Reservations Were Established
  • Module 5.2: American Indian Land Tenure

The information covered in this module will review the background information on American Indian Land Tenure. However, each reservation has a unique government structure with their own rules and regulations about starting up a business.  It is highly suggested to bring in a local representative to help guide your students through the issues that are brought up in this module.

Module 6: Ownership, Liability, and Risk

This module allows students to examine their options with regard to the type of business structure they would like to establish and the unique risks, liabilities, and tax implications associated with each. Discussing the risks and liabilities allows your students an opportunity to make well informed decisions. Some tools for determining the types of risk they have on their operations or that they could encounter while in business are presented. Understanding the level of risk and how to deal with what you have is the first step in identifying how prepared or unprepared you are. With this level of knowledge, students will understand how their operation needs to be run to ensure success.

Module 7: Tax Issues for Farmers and Ranchers

This module introduces the basics of tax filing for a small farm or business. Help your students understand that filing taxes is necessary to receive benefits from the government, apply for insurance programs, and acquire financing. This module introduces your students to, a website dedicated to helping farmers navigate tax forms, rules, and regulations. Included in this module are examples of a few tax documents—like a 1040 form, with explanations of what each section includes, and a 1099 form, which explains any miscellaneous income that you may have received throughout the year. This module also covers some common issues that business/farm owners encounter, such as self‐employment tax, hobby loss rules, 1099 informational returns and depreciation, and section 179 issues. This module also briefly touches on individual tribal tax and deferred tax issues. This module is not meant to be a comprehensive look at taxes and tax issues; it is meant to help your students become more aware of the types of tax issues that exist.