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October 23, 1986 - Image 46

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-23
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



-,

9

HOW TO SPOT AN
INTRAPRENEUR-
FRIENDLY
COMPANY
kay, we've established the fact that
many companies offer a nurturing
environment for their innovative
and intraprising employees. But where do
you go from here? How do you locate and
select among those companies with an
established commitment to intrepreneurial

directly relatable to an unwillingness to
promote and develop new ideas.)
" How likely is it that you will be free to use
the resources of other divisions, or of
outside vendors, to support your ideas?
* Is it sometimes easier to develop new
ideas in a service industry, as opposed to a
product industry? And, if so, does the com-
pany you are considering have a significant
service aspect to which you can devote
your innovative thinking? (For example, a
service company which runs a tax-prepara-
tion service would be far more likely to
branch, say, into the financial planning
industry; start-up costs would be minimal,
and there already would exist a strong iden-
tification with a targeted clientele. It would
be far more difficult, obviously, to convince
a company that sells toothpicks that it
should consider developing a teethclean-
ing appliance for home use.)
" Has the company demonstrated the
patience to wait as long as several years for
a new venture to turn a profit?
Look fora ready acceptance of new ideas
when considering your first job. "Managers
have to pay attention to building a good en-
vironment for intrapreneurs or they'll lose
their most imaginative and courageous
people," says Pinchot. "Big companies are
losing intrapreneurs at a pretty good rate,
who go out to become entrepreneurs
because they aren't given an opportunity
inside"
But remember, if you want your ideas to
happen, you have to fight for them; you
have to become your own passionate
champion in order to gain funding, free-
dom and support. "I think that it is right
for corporations to put resistance on people
who want to spend money on new ideas,'
Pinchot admits. "You should have to fight
for it. There just isn't enough money to give
everybody whatever they want. I trust the
corporate immune system to provide ade-
quate resistance:"
HOW TO WRITE A
BUSINESS PLAN

The Oerican Express Real Life Planneo
You can't simply walk into your boss's
office and say, "Hey, I've got a great
idea!" and expect to be shown anything
but the door. In fact the only effective
way to thoroughly detail your strategies-
whether as a traditional entrepreneur or
as a company-sponsored visionary-is
through a business plan. This is a cor-
porate blueprint for any start-up venture,
your principal working document that
will explain to others exactly what your
idea is, what it is you've learned about
the market you intend to serve, and
how it is you've come to learn it. You've
all heard somebody ask you to tell
them everything you know in a nutshell
-well, the business plan is the busi-
nessman's nutshell.
"No one expects a business plan to
be one hundred percent accurate in
hindsight;' observes Jeffrey A. Stern,
author of the book How to Become
Financially Independent Before You're
35. "It's not likely that you will be held
accountable five years down the road if
the business hasn't performed accord-
ing to your plan. But that doesn't mean
you can dismiss things like accuracy
and logic from your assumptions."
Stern suggests that you offer no hid-
den agendas in your business plan, that
you don't fudge your numbers to satisfy
a "yes" or "no" decision for your
proposal. "You have to remember that a
business plan is a first step;' he says. "If
it's enough to generate interest, then
there will be plenty of time to run 'What
If?' scenarios, to look at the thing more
closely. But the business plan has got to
be based on accurate assumptions,
because without them your backers will
have nothing real to go on"
A business plan, according to Stern,
should serve four distinct functions:
1. To measure the new business or
product against other possible business
starts. A true intrapreneur will be looking
at several possible ventures, and a
thorough business plan will help assess
the value of one idea against another.
2. To understand the issues of running
a business. The only way to truly grasp
the dynamics of your plan is to set it
down on paper, run numbers, and rea-
sonably predict when and how the
investment of time and money will pay off.
3. To help you determine priorities. By
relating assumptions to numbers you
can better define your priorities, and
then you are positioned to make deci-
sions to effect the largest scope of your
proposed business.
4. To quantifygoals. A business plan can
help establish realistic targets for your
business or product on a years-long or
month-to-month basis.
"The business plan should be
thorough and well-organized,' Stern
offers, "particularly in the footnotes.
Special Advertising Supplement

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ventures? Below, we offer a list of ques-
tions to ask yourself when considering a
first job opportunity and the possible free-
doms you'll have to develop and imple-
ment your own ideas:
e Does the company share your enthusi-
asm and commitment to innovation? Is
innovation vital to that company's success?
(If the company can't point out at least one
creative, internal start-up venture, then it
might be a good idea to take your business
elsewhere.)
* Will you have access to a high-level cor-
porate sponsor in a position to help you
fight for your new ideas? Will you need to
gain approval directly from the company
head, or will you be able to build a network
of in-house support as your plan makes
its way up the corporate ladder?
* Does the company have a program in
place that rewards creativity, offering
bonuses or equity-positions where new
ideas lead to company successes?
* Is the company in a position to encourage
risk taking and to absorb mistakes? (You'll
often find that companies in leadership
positions in their fields will be more likely to
finance new ventures. You should think
twice before signing on with companies
that lag well behind their competition; you'll
often find that their poor performance is

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a m

o matter how great your idea,
no matter how innovative and
revolutionary, you'll need to
communicate your vision in a way your
colleagues and bosses can understand.

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