University of Southern California

Community Businesses SCORE with USC Marshall Professors
Two Greif Center Professors Teach Local Businesses How to Create Business Plans Through SCORE
May 13, 2009 • by Anne Bergman

Two professors from USC Marshall's Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies recently hosted a seminar for entrepreneurs and business people focused on the craft of writing business plans. According to Professor William Crookston, who co-taught the seminar with Professor Patrick Henry, for the Los Angeles chapter of SCORE, the event was a "smash success."

"We had over 150 attendees, a lot of people who want to start their own businesses," Crookston said of the May 7 seminar held at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

Indeed, according to The Kauffman Foundation's annual "Index of Entrepreneurial Activity," the current recession is helping to spur entrepreneurship. It shows start up business rates rose to .32% in 2008 – meaning that an average of 32 of every 100,000 Americans started new ventures each month.

"A majority of people in the crowd wanted to be entrepreneurs," said Crookston, who's a Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship at the Greif Center. "Some were already running their own businesses without a business plan; while some had to write one because a bank was requesting a business plan before they'd give them a loan."

While there was no time to write a business plan during the seminar, Crookston and Henry had time to explain the fundamentals of writing one, as well as why business plans are essential and how to use a business plan to attract customers, capital and colleagues.

During the question-and-answer period, Crookston said it was clear that there is "a lot of angst out in the world. People are tired of working for the man. They're saying that they want to be in charge of themselves, more so now just because of the times."

The seminar was so successful that Crookston said he will reteam with Henry, who's an Assistant Professor at the Greif Center and a networking "guru," for another SCORE presentation in the future. "We're going to get a double-header out of it," Crookston said.

SCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, dedicated "to the education and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide." The organization provides these events free to the public with USC professors volunteering their expertise. In February, James Ellis, Dean of the USC Marshall School of Business, also led a SCORE seminar on how to position companies for the economic recovery.

The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is one of the nation's leaders in entrepreneurship education and research. The program has consistently ranked among the top programs of its kind in the nation.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.