This course will trace the path of a retail enterprise from ideation to implementation. The course will migrate from a macro to micro view of all activities which must be engaged in to actually launch a retail enterprise. A retail enterprise could take the form of a “brick and mortar” store, a catalog, a web based business, or any combination thereof. Our primary focus will be on a "brick and mortar" store. The retail enterprise created on desktop will potentially be an actual opportunity which students may have the opportunity to join, in an actual real world setting, once the course work has been completed.
Initial ideas will be identified, edited, and then a specific idea will be selected and validated with respect to market capacity, competitive opportunity and economic viability. From this starting point a business plan will be created, a financing strategy will be created, and organizational, operational, merchandising, and marketing plans will be formulated. The course will be broadly divided into two halves: Planning and Implementation. The course will be presented through a combination of structured lectures, team assigned work projects and presentations, and select guest appearances of individuals whose specific area of expertise will aid the class in accomplishing its final objective: the launch of a viable retail business. These outside “experts” will represent areas such as investment banking, organizational design, operations, logistics and systems planning, real estate planning, store design, etc.
Mark Cohen was a Columbia Business School faculty member from to 2016.