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Local Business Leaders Emphasize the Importance of Effective Business Planning to MSLCE Students

By Chad Hewitt

The cornerstone of Cory Sandrock’s Economics of Creative Enterprises class is the careful crafting and development of a business plan to be presented at the culmination of the term. As students learn firsthand the dynamic tension between managing an organization as a creative leader while also considering the financial questions that come with running any business, Professor Sandrock invited two local business leaders to discuss the importance of a clear and well executed business plan when seeking capital from investors and financial

Malini Moraghan and Rasheed Hammouda spoke on a panel to the current MSLCE students about their own experiences with developing new enterprises and the importance of clear communication in talking with different stakeholders. Moraghan is currently the owner of Drawing Board Portfolio, an impact investment advisory for funders who focus on expanding clean food and equitable nutrition. Hammouda is the cofounder of Bridge Financial Technology, a tech company that offers software to fiduciary advisors to help streamline their services and keep cost low. Both Moraghan and Hammouda emphasized the importance of having a clear vision for an enterprise, and even more importantly, being able to communicate that vision to potential investors with the numbers to back it up.

“Having a narrative around a mission is important,” commented Hammouda. “But what’s also important is having the numbers properly communicated to support that narrative. A common language is necessary when you talk about investing needs and that language is accounting.”

Moraghan added to this point, emphasizing the importance of evaluating the source of financing: “Who you accept financing from is an extremely strategic decision for your enterprise. When you work with a combination of banks, financial institutions, and foundations, that crowd of capital is extremely acrobatic and diverse.” Hammouda added the importance of knowing what you want out of an investment partner as aligning philosophies, time horizons, and investment goals are crucial to the success of a start-up.

As students continue to research and develop their own business plans, Moraghan and Hammouda’s insights will prove invaluable to the many questions and considerations that come with starting a new business. Both Moraghan and Hammouda left the students with two pieces of advice. Hammouda told students to “approach each situation as if you have never done it before and stay open to the fact that you haven’t figured it all out yet.” Moraghan’s emphasized that, “While it is important to work hard and learn new things, you also shouldn’t waste time with insecurities because you are enough.”