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Case Study Guide

The Soul of the American Economy

Overview Transcript Case Study Video

Washington, DC: Meet Michael Novak, a man whose life study is of the foundations of government systems that work. And here he discovered small business has the heart and spirit that sustains and nurtures democratic capitalism.   Michael Novak strikes deep into the heart of public debate about what works and what doesn't work within economic systems, and he says that small business owners are demonstrators. They're on the front lines, risking and fighting the good fight every day. Small business owners take lofty principles and reduce them to nitty-gritty practice.

As a people, the debate about capitalism should no longer be the domain of economists. We all need to grapple with the first principles of ethics, economics, and government. Virtually overnight globalization is a reality and belief systems are butting against one another, often shredding civility and undermining any inherent ethics and morality.

Each of us needs to engage in the historic debate about economic models. What works? What is good for people? Is this singular focus on "Return to Shareholders" a truncation of capitalism? Do we need to be looking at a more balanced model that includes more than the growth of the bottom line?

What is the hope of the future? We profoundly believe it has a lot to do with small business and individual initiatives; yet here, we simply open our dialogue and begin to chart a new course. 

Go to all the key ideas of this episode...

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    Four Steps to start and run test
Step 1. Initial Idea $
Step 2. Start-up $$
Step 3. Incubate $$$
Step 4. On Your Own $$$$
   Four Steps to run and grow test
Step 5. Employer $$$
Step 6. Growth $$
Step 7. Sustainabilty $
Step 8. Exit at the top $$$$

You can create a case study guide about your business, right here by logging in and answering the questions.

This web site is for lifelong learning for small business owners.

For our very first episode of the show, we prepared a case study guide.

We began back in 1994 for the PBS Adult Learning Service special broadcast of the show to every college and university throughout the USA. By 1996 we were working with hundreds of business school professors around the country to use these case studies guides within their classrooms. Students were assigned cases to read online. Today there are well over 1000 questions and answers about starting, running and growing a business, and the number grows every day.

Helping business students has its own rewards but our goal has always been to help our fellow small business owners. Our goal, even in 1996, was to set up an interactive mechanism online so by answering the same questions asked of each small business owner in an episode of the show, our small business owners and viewers could develop a case study guide right here within this website.

Such a case study guide could help a small business grow.

Every successful business owner we've interviewed has had some kind of projections. They've had a plan. They have long-term and short term goals. A case study guide examines and justifies those goals. It'll take your first principles (i.e. those you hear with the opening of every episode of the show), your past (your transcript), your best thinking for within the current moment, then actively ask that you project it all together into the future. By answering these questions, you'll be asked to articulate the evergreen truths about your business. You'll be challenged to see how your business is a good business.

These kinds of case study guides are now used in schools all over the USA and around the world.

First, in 1997 Prentice Hall asked to insert these case study guides as chapter endings in their best-selling business textbooks. Millions of those books are used by business students around the world.

Since 2001, Thomson Learning adopted Small Business School and has included the case study guides and video clips for their best-selling business textbooks. Today, thousands of business schools and management classes, many high schools, and one elementary school (Holmes Beach, Florida) have used these case studies in their classroom.

You do not have to be left out.

You can return to school without leaving your desk.

We have brought all these study guides on line within this community. Virtually every aspect of starting, running and growing your own business is addressed. Take one step at a time. You have choices. You can work through the FREE section of the site within our Eight Steps (above) – four to start and four to grow a business.

The streaming media centers at five universities today (we expect to expand that to 50 within a few years) is based on streaming video of each episode, the transcripts and our interactive study guides.

The weekly show and this website,, is the foundation of the Small Business Index of Learning Companies.

Complete a few classes at and you will find that with every answer you have given, you can selectively use parts of each to generate your own profile page, study guide, and transcript automatically. Then, you open the options to display those pages back under your state, your type of business, your business name, and your name.

Later you can opt to generate a business plan, use it to raise debt capital, or even generate a SCOR document to raise equity capital.

Study more about the SCOR document...


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