Monday, May 2, 2011

Ernst and Young Business Plan Guide

*Warning: This post is boring to most people* But if you're willing to read it(: YAY!

Ernst and Young, if you don't know, is a very famous accounting firm. Why they have a business plan book, I have no idea, but it's actually a good book. I remember borrowing a similar book before, but got really really bored and didn't finish reading it (contrary to popular belief by my friends, there are books I don't read or finish)

One nice thing about the book is that they use one case study (with comments) to illustrate the different parts of the business plan, so that's it's cohesive. For someone like me, it's actually a help with my BM IA. Even though the IA is totally different (except the executive summary part), it actually helps in showing how different business reports (part of the unit on communication) can be written, and it works as a kind of guiding light.

The book also gives a good (short but deep) section on the types of business (but tax codes are about the US, unfortunately) and why you should write a good business report. And of course, throughout the book, they do tell you what to avoid.

So, from the executive summary chapter, the list of 10 in the very first page, with my comments:

1. Be different - everyone is looking for the next idea or way to solve an age-old problem
True, but the question is, how do you come up with the creativity? It might be serendipity, it might be inspiration from God. But I think the important thing is to do whatever you do well.

2. While you have a grand vision, focus on the things you can do.
Also very true. Practicality can trump a lot of things. I believe Einstein once said "Genius is 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration.

3. Be clear in what you want to accomplish; don't make the business plan merely an exercise in raising money.
Well, I thought of Cooperatives straightaway, even though it's not related.

4. Capitalise on past achievements, don't reinvent things.
It sounds like a contradiction to 1. but I think they want to walk the balance between innovation and tradition. Plus, if you think about Kaizen (continuous improvement - although in Japanese, it's just improvement), it makes sense. And as with life, you should also do the same.

5. Learn from your and other's mistakes
This applies to life and everything else as well(:

6. Check out your ideas with skeptics; the more your ideas are challenged, the better they will be when they are fully formed.
See point 5. And also why the opposition should be criticised more.

7. Enlist the help of experts in the field of your venture.
You can't be expected to know everything, and I remember reading (the best way to gain knowledge) that it's better to be someone with only minimal knowledge across all fields, but knows how to put together and manage a team of experts, than to be an expert and not have any people skills. After all, knowledge is continually be updated, but relationship skills will stay the same.

8. Network! Network! Network! You cannot have a network that is too big.
Sad but true. Who you know is almost, if not more important than what you know. Makes you wonder why you should even learn business theories ):

9. A business is like a stew. Load your mind with a great deal of information, then let your business idea simmer before finalising it.
The same could be said for any kind of essay, particularly those like EE's and ToK Essays(:

10. Look forward and never give up!
So true(:

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