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Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Could You Start a Business?

Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers

Procedures for Teachers is divided into two sections:
  • Prep — Preparing for the lesson
  • Steps — Conducting the lesson

Media Components

  • Video:

    • WIDE ANGLE "Pickles, Inc."

      In "Pickles, Inc.," Palestinian widows start their own pickling business in an attempt to achieve financial independence, and then struggle with business and financial management. Eight widows decide to challenge convention by starting up a business venture — the Azka Pickle Cooperative — seeking financial independence for themselves and their children. They establish a tiny factory for pickling vegetables and develop a market for their product in local stores. With little formal education or work experience outside the home, the women face numerous hurdles as the business struggles to expand to stores throughout Israel.

  • Segments:

    • Pickles, Inc. 1 (1:20)

      This segment explains why the widows make pickles (lack of other options), and provides a description of the business. There are also comments about the women's education level. It also foreshadows the challenges the women will face in running their company.

    • Pickles, Inc. 2 (2:50)

      The director would like the women to work 3-4 more hours per day and make 400 jars per day.

    • Pickles, Inc. 3 (:37; 1:27)

      These segments explain the profit margin for pickle production, detailing how it costs $2 to produce a jar of pickles, which then sells for $3. It mentions that the factory is producing 500 jars per week, and also mentions that the factory has a credit line of $2000. At this point, the women's profit is only enough to cover the cost of supplies, and the repayment including interest payments of the credit line. It also discusses the need of additional start-up costs.

    • Pickles, Inc. 4 (1:25)

      At this point, the pickle business has not found a partner. The business checking account is constantly overdrawn. The women have expanded their line of credit to $4000, but have over $20,000 in debt. They are working without wages, and it looks like the company might fail.

    • Pickles, Inc. 5 (1:24)

      The entrepreneur has decided not to invest in the company because he doesn't think that pickle production is a competitive business. The widows ultimately close the pickle business, still owing money to suppliers.

  • Web sites:

    Career and Education:

  • Materials:

    Teachers will need the following supplies:

    • Computer with connection to a screen or television on which to project the Web-based video clips, or computer stations where students can watch the clips
    • Board and/or chart paper
    • "Business Costs" Teacher Organizer
    • "Business Budget Terms" Teacher Organizer

    Students will need the following supplies:

    • Computers with Internet access (for individuals or groups)
    • Notebook or journal
    • Pens/pencils
    • Calculator
    • "Start a Business" Student Organizer
    • "Pickle Profits" Student Organizer


    1. Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, or upload all links to an online bookmarking utility such as

    2. Preview all of the video clips and Web sites used in the lesson to make certain that they are appropriate for your students, currently available, and accessible from your classroom.

    3. Download the video clips used in this lesson onto your hard drive, or prepare to stream the clips from your classroom.

    4. Print out the "Business Costs" and "Business Budget Terms" Teacher Organizers for use during class.

    5. Print out the "Start a Business" and "Pickle Profits" Student Organizers and make enough copies so that each student has one copy of each organizer.

    6. When using media, provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, a specific task to complete and/or information to identify during or after viewing of video segments, Web sites, or other multimedia elements.


Day 1: Introduction of Lesson

  1. Introduce the lesson by asking students if they know anyone who has started a business, including any of their friends. Ask they if they would like to start their own business, and if so, what type of business. Write the new business ideas on the board.

  2. Next, ask students how they might go about figuring out how much it might cost to start a new business, and to keep it running. Using the "Business Costs" Teacher Organizer as a guide, brainstorm with the students the different categories of start-up and ongoing costs that a business might have. Explain that some start-up costs are one-time or infrequent costs, like buying furniture. Also explain that some costs are ongoing, like salaries.

  3. Next, ask students if they know anything about keeping a budget, and if they think a budget would help with running a new business. Explain that there are specific terms for business budgeting. Write the business budget terms from the "Business Budget Terms" Teacher Organizer on the board, and discuss the definitions with the students.

  4. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to think about how they might start a new business. Play the "Pickles, Inc. 1" segment for the class.

  5. When the segment is over, have a discussion with students about some of the costs that might be incurred specifically in starting and running the pickle factory. Draw the students's attention back to the cost categories on the board, and see if they have covered all of the sections in their analysis of the pickle-factory costs.

  6. Hand out the "Start a Business" Student Organizer.

  7. Next, ask students to fill in the general cost categories in the Student Organizer.

  8. Then, ask students to fill in the specific pickle factory cost categories that they have discussed as a class. These should pair up with the general cost categories in the first column.

  9. Ask students to break up into groups of 4-5 students each to research the cost categories associated with the start-up and running of a business using the SBA Small Business Planner. Click on "Finance Start-Up,' then click on "StartUp Costs," then click on "Business Know-How StartUp Calculator" to find cost categories.

  10. The Citibank Small Business Guide Series Web site can also be used as a research resource for all aspects of starting a business.

  11. Ask each group of students to nominate a spokesperson to share with the class the business cost categories they have developed.

  12. Discuss with the class how important it is to be aware of all possible costs in starting a running a business, and how those costs require that the business make a certain income to cover the costs.

Day 2: Analyze Business Revenue and Expenses

  1. Start the class with a review of the class discussion of the previous day, focusing on the concepts of the costs of running a business.

  2. Next, explain to the class that today they will be focusing on revenue and how revenue and expenses interact to create a profit or loss. Using the "Business Budget Terms" Teacher Organizer, review with the students the business budget terms from the day before.

  3. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to pay careful attention to the revenue and expense figures that are provided for the pickle factory. Play the "Pickles, Inc. 2" and "Pickles, Inc. 3" segments for the class.

  4. Lead a discussion with students about how to determine how much income the factory is producing, compared to the expenses, and ultimately the profit. Reiterate that profit is made when revenue exceeds expenses, and losses occur when revenue falls short of expenses.

  5. Hand out the "Pickle Profits" Student Organizer. Based on the video they just watched, ask students to fill in the amounts for 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 jars of pickles per day, including expenses and revenue (it costs $2 to produce one jar of pickles, which then sells for $3). Ask students to then complete the profit column to determine how much profit per week the factory would be making.

  6. Next, discuss with the students how many people are working at the factory, and how to calculate the profit per person per week. Assume that there are eight employees of the pickle factory, all of whom are partners and make the same salary. To find out the per person profit, in the Student Organizer divide the profit by the number of people working. Ask the students to fill in that column of the "Pickle Profits" Student Organizer.

  7. Then, begin a discussion on credit. Ask the class if anyone understands what was meant by a "line of credit" as was mentioned in the "Pickles, Inc. 3" segment. Explain that credit is borrowing money, through a loan from a bank, a credit card, or other methods.

  8. Explain to students that a line of credit is essentially a loan from a bank that a business can use from time to time, but that it has to be paid back with interest. Discuss with the class that the repayment of the loan plus interest is another expense for the company, and not the same thing as a source of revenue.

Day 3: Creating a Budget

  1. Start class by reviewing the concepts of business budgeting discussed in the previous class. Reiterate the definitions from the "Business Budget Terms" Teacher Organizer.

  2. Ask students if they understand what happens if expenses are more than revenue. Ask students to take out their "Pickle Profits" student organizers, and to look at the profit per person that is being made at the pickle company. Ask the students if they think the pickle company is a strong business, with sufficient profit to pay its employees as well as its suppliers, loan, and other expenses that were included in the "Start a Business" Student Organizer.

  3. Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to pay careful attention to the final success or failure of the company. Play the "Pickles, Inc. 4" and "Pickles, Inc. 5" segments for the class.

  4. Next, divide the students into groups of 4-5 each. Ask the student groups to brainstorm why they think the pickle factory had to close. Explain that they will be required to use their "Run a Business" and "Pickle Profits" Student Organizers in their explanation.

  5. Ask each group to also brainstorm some ideas of how the pickle factory could have been successful. Ask them to think about the concepts of budgeting, income, expenses, profits, loss, and credit in their answer.

  6. Ask each group to appoint a spokesperson, and ask them to share their results with the class. While each spokesperson speaks, record on one side of the board the possible reasons for company failure, and record on the other side of the board the corresponding ideas for success. Some of the reasons for failure could be that more pickles were made than were sold, or that the company did have enough profit to pay the widows a sufficient salary. Some of the ways the company could have succeeded include bringing in a partner to help expand the business to sell more pickles, or finding a way to make the pickles more cheaply, so that costs were lower and profits were higher.

  7. Discuss as a class which seem like some of the most reasonable ideas for the company failing, and to help the company succeed.

  8. Ask students to think back to the first day of the three classes, and the opening discussion about whether the students would like to start their own business. Next, lead a short discussion about why financial management is so important to the success of the business, focusing on issues like the need for profit to pay employees, and to keep the business moving forward.

Extension Activities

  1. Students will brainstorm ideas for their own new business given their own current set of skills.

  2. Students will create a business plan for starting a new business.

  3. Students will brainstorm ideas to help young entrepreneurs start new businesses.

Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers