Monday, July 2, 2012

Steven Gedeon

In searching for an expert on the value of a business plan, I discovered Dr. Steven Gedeon. According to page1¶ in 2009 Dr. Steven Gedeon was the 1st place prize winner of the 3E Learning Award for his workshop Investment Negotiation.

Dr. Steven Gedeon is a bonafide expert on business plans writer and reviewer.
Page 1¶1 Steven A. Gedeon, PhD (MIT), MBA, is a professor in Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the Ted Rogers School of Management.

He has founded or led over a dozen private, public, venture capital and non-profit organizations; published over 100 articles, reports and patents; and delivered over 40 public speaking engagements and on-line videos on personal leadership, motivation, entrepreneurship and teaching.

What is the business? and whom am I selling to? are a few of the critical components to a business plan. What is the price point for the product and services the company offers and who are the competitors and how the business that is being planned is different from the competitors? All of these issues are importance to know ahead of time to measure effectiveness and to prevent a business from failing and making avoidable mistakes.

The most important component is the executive summary and what are the qualification of the management team, the overall business idea and the financials.
The key element to a successful business plan is does it have creditability and is their a guide to action.

Every plan should have a plan to action based on the audience that you are targeting. 

Courtesy of Arthur Richardson

Film Folks

Film Folks

Kevin Geiger is known for films such as, 'Reign of Fire', 'Species', 'Chicken Little', and 'Henry's Garden'. With his major focus being in digital arts, Kevin has also offered great details on having an indie film business plan. Kevin says, "Most indie filmmakers have a strong creative pitch, but not a strong business pitch when going to investors, and if those aren't linked, you've got a problem." According to Kevin, a few key factors investors are looking for an a business plan include:
  • How are the investors going to make their money back?
  • Prepare a cash flow projection
  • Create a business plan presentation for investors
  • Select development and advisory teams.
Check out his great informational videos below!
The next industry expert is Kathleen Kennedy, by far one of the most successful film producers of all time. She's produced films like 'Jurassic Park', 'ET', 'Adventures of Tin Tin' and many more. Kathleen attended San Diego State University and later worked as a camera operator, video editor, and floor director. Kathleen started as a production assistant in working with Steven Spielberg and worked her way up to becoming the second most successful film producers in the world. Kathleen Kennedy is now the co-chair person for Lucasfilm. ( Deadline, 2012)
Kathleen Kennedy says she became lucky after taking a job as a production assistant for Steven Spielberg's '1941' and later became a producer. Kathleen mentions how she looks for someone who is talented, nice, balanced, with various interests in the film industry when hiring new people. She also mentioned that for great advice you have to have a lot of tenacity, work hard, and strong values to make it in the film industry. (HollywoodTV, 2007)  Kathleen gives excellent advice in the video below for ways to make it in Hollywood.

Courtesy of Lindsay Pressley

Muhammad Yunus

Muhammad Yunus is the Founder of Grameen Bank. Years ago when I was looking for successful banks Grameen topped the list. Yunus was a traditional economist in Bangladesh who while training young students got the spark for a greater idea. The third of fourteen children, he grew up in Bengal with a passion for education. He believed this would prevent him from a life of poverty that suffocates that part of the world. He came running back to his roots with a plan of micro financing. He became a man of resource and refreshment in sustaining small business owners. Formed in 1983, Grameen Bank has one of the greatest success rates in loan repayment in the world. There are now close to 20,00 staff members, and branches around the globe. Yunus is inspiring because he has an intense but simple methodology. He selects businesses and individuals that have a passion, and a drive, and only need the money. He loans to people who can lead a village, a community into enterprising focus. He has defined microcredit, and made a solid branding from the beginning. He did not create a company steeped in preventing poverty and then shy away from substance once it worked. He has maintained a working system that keeps spreading. He has since resigned as Managing Director of the bank, yet he is still the beacon of hope in those communities that think of their next meal every day. He reminds the western world what the marketplace can really look like. Defining success for people who never dreamed of it, and holding onto integrity for people who may have forgotten. 

Courtesy of Elizabeth Moody

Steve Blank and Carl Schramm

Steve Blank, hailing from New York City, moved from being an entrepreneur to teaching entrepreneurship to both undergraduate and graduate students at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University, Columbia University and the Joint Berkeley/Columbia Executive MBA program. After 21 years in 8 high technology companies, he retired in 1999. Steve Blank co-founded his last company, E.piphany, in his living room in 1996. His other startups include two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers, a workstation company Convergent Technologies, a consulting stint for a graphics hardware/software spinout Pixar, a supercomputer firm, Ardent, a computer peripheral supplier, SuperMac, a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL and a video game company, Rocket Science Games. [cited from:]
In 2009, he was awarded the Stanford University Undergraduate Teaching Award in the department of Management Science and Engineering. The same year, the San Jose Mercury News listed him as one of the 10 Influencers in Silicon Valley. In 2010, he was awarded the Earl F. Cheit Outstanding Teaching Award at U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business. In 2012 the Harvard Business Review listed him as one of the “Masters of Innovation.” [cited from:]
Steve's view on "the business plan" is quite interesting. In his blog post "No One Wins In Business Plan Competitions" he touches on the controversial subject, stating that A business plan is the execution document that large companies write when planning product-line extensions where customer, market and product features are known. The plan describes the execution strategy for addressing these “knowns.” A startup is not executing a series of knowns. Steve Blank does admit that business plans are still quite useful. According to Steve, "The writing exercise forces you to think through all parts of your business. Putting together the financial model forces you to think about how to build a profitable business."
Carl Schramm, a PhD economist and past President and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, is in great demand, sits on boards and manages his personal angel investments. He shared interesting views on entrepreneurship and the business plan. He points out characteristics of an entrepreneur:
  • They are an outsider, they ask the hard questions, and press leaders on the “why” around status quo.
  • They think in terms of disruption, and are often thought to be disruptive by the change-averse.
  • They see things differently, considering untraditional forces that others didn’t see.
  • They are often competent in a completely different field than the field they are working in.
  • They are very widely read, and know lots of facts and information that makes thinking richer.
  • They have worked in multiple places in the world.
  • They have worked in a startup.
  • They have worked in a job they didn’t like.
  • They have worked in multiple industries.
In his view toward the business plan, he feels that it rarely makes sense to write a business plan, nor does it make any real sense to manage from it. Carl’s point is it is never the case that the formal path mapped out in a business plan is the real path that a business takes to success. As soon as the plan is done, it is out of date. So, why write business plans at all? Stick to the minimal – what is the product, who’s going to buy it, why need it, and how you are going to build and deliver it based on what you know. It only needs to be one page.
Instead of spending time writing a business plan, get on with making the business. Carl shared that in all the investments in start-ups he’s made, he has not read a single business plan. For Carl, to invest in a new business, his measure is the person, not the business plan.
courtesy of Jackie Lynch