Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Picture Your Startup

Lindsey Link, Jami Henson | Published: November 23rd, 2022 by K20 Center


Have you ever thought about how cool it would be to run your own business? With creativity and drive, you can be an entrepreneur: a person who creates, organizes, or operates a business. Running a business can be enjoyable and rewarding, but it also requires lots of planning and hard work. Along with getting to do fun things like naming your company, picking out products, and possibly designing your business space, you also need a solid plan for how your business will succeed. With so many small businesses out there, you must decide what will make your company shine.


Geralt. (2017). Business Plan Tree. [Digital image].

According to the United States’ Small Business Profile, there were 30.7 million small businesses in 2019. Because there are so many small businesses, starting a new one that will last can be tricky. One of the most important parts of starting a successful business is having a strong plan.

This activity will help you practice the skills needed to make that plan. If you enjoy the process, you may turn your ideas into a business one day!

Materials List

  • Internet access

  • Printed chart and task cards (optional)

  • Two pieces of blank paper (optional)

  • Something to write with (optional)

  • Picture Your Startup Student Guide (attached)

What to Do

Note that you will need to use the attached Picture Your Startup Student Guide for the activities on this page. The Student Guide can be viewed on your computer or printed out.

  1. Start by reading about the Circle Maps activity below.

  2. Use that strategy to help you complete Activity 1: Picture Your Startup.

  3. Use your ideas from Activity 1 to complete Activity 2: Make Your Pitch.

  4. Complete the Triangle-Square-Circle Reflection strategy.

  5. Check out the videos and websites for further exploration under the Extend section.

Preflection: Circle Maps

Circle Maps is a brainstorming activity that will help you make connections between old ideas and new ones. For this activity, begin by thinking about your interests and use those to create new business ideas. By the end of the activity, you will have used what you already knew about your interests to create new ideas about possible businesses. Follow the steps starting on page 4 of the attached Picture Your Startup Student Guide to begin the brainstorming process.

Sample Circle Map Activity

Activity #1: Picture Your Startup

During this activity, use the idea that you created using the Circle Maps Activity (or pick one of the ideas provided) and work through the beginning steps of creating your own business startup. The task cards in this activity are based on real questions people ask themselves when starting a new business.

Begin on page 6 in the attached Student Guide. Then using the task cards on pages 8-14, begin the first steps of planning your small business! For each card, answer the question by illustrating your answer. You can draw or find pictures that represent your answers, like the example pictures in the slides. Add a brief explanation of why you used those pictures.


  • Internet connection

  • Printed cards (optional) or blank paper

  • Pencil or pen


  1. Decide whether you want to use the idea you created above or select an idea from this list for your small business plan. Once you know what idea you want to use, write it at the top of your blank sheet of paper or on your printed cards.

  1. Use the task cards found on pages 8-14 of the student guide to complete this part of the activity. You can either print the task cards or create your own using your blank sheet of paper.

  1. For each card, answer the question about your new business by providing a picture (or pictures) and a short description of why you drew or chose that picture.

  2. Look back over all your cards and make sure you are happy with these first steps in your small business plan. Once you are ready, move to the next activity.

Activity #2: Make Your Pitch

Now that you have some ideas for your business, it’s time to pitch those ideas to others for feedback and support! To "pitch" a business idea means to try to convince people that your business will be successful. Remember, when you start a business—even a small one—you often need to work with other people for help with money or product creation. You have to convince them that your business idea is going to be successful.


  • Ideas from Picture Your Startup Activity

  • Internet connection

  • Device to create business pitch (optional)


  1. Decide who you want to pitch your idea to and make sure they are willing to participate. Parents, guardians, family members, and friends are all great people to start with.

  2. Decide how you would like to present your small business. Using the task cards you created in the above activity, you will make your business pitch. You can simply share these cards with your family by explaining the ideas for your business that each picture represents, or you can create your own PowerPoint presentation or Prezi ( to share.

  3. Once you’ve shared your business pitch, ask your family for feedback.

    • What did they like?

    • What could be made better?

    • Is there anything else you could add to the business plan?

    Write down any points you think are helpful.

Extend: Triangle, Square, Circle


  • Printed chart on the following page (optional) or a blank sheet of paper

  • Pen or pencil


The Triangle-Square-Circle strategy helps you reflect on what you have learned throughout the above activities.

  1. Choose one of the two Career Talks linked below to watch. Both speakers turned their hobbies into businesses in some way.

  1. On a blank sheet of paper (or using the graphic organizer on page 17 of the Student Guide), draw a triangle, and inside that triangle, write three things you learned about creating a small business idea throughout these activities and from the career talk.

  2. Next, draw a square, and inside that square, write down anything that "squares" with you, or the points from the activities that you agree are important to starting a small business.

  3. Now draw a circle, and inside that circle, write down any questions you still have about starting a business, or things that are "circling" in your mind.