Sunday, June 24, 2012

Personal business plan

There have been some questions on the forum about the personal business plan assignment. After the OEP this is the last assignment for the course. So I wanted to provide some more information of what it entails. It is due 7/10.

This is not a team assignment. Everyone does an individual "personal business plan". It's not about the startup or company project. It's about your personal career plans over the next 3 years or so. So everyone should do their own. Students in my class find it to be one of the more rewarding assignments and often get really into it.

The entrepreneurial process is at its core concerned with "the pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources already under control." This process is as applicable to your career as it is to starting a company. The goal of this assignment is to identify where you want to be and how you will get there. Do not worry about your current resources. Think entrepreneurially!
Your personal business plan should include a long-term vision statement, the "external" opportunities that exist, your "internal" (personal) strengths, and a strategy for yourself and your life over the next two to five years. In addition, please share one "failure" from your past and what you learned from it in terms of maximizing your potential for the future. 
The assignment should consist of a succinct essay (up to 750 words in bullet points or prose) that summarizes the areas discussed below, as well as the one "failure" wherever you feel it best fits.
  • Vision and Opportunity
    1. What are your goals (career and/or educational) after you leave Stanford?
    2. What is your purpose, your values and your mission? List the 3 key questions that guide your choices. These should be essential questions that serve as touchstones to direct your life and work. For instance, how can I have impact? What do I love? What do I fear? What engages my passions? How do I want to be remembered? The answers to these questions may well change over time, but when the questions themselves are fundamental they tend to last a lifetime.
    3. What is the market and opportunity that align with your goals? Don't restrict yourself to matters of career or work; think more broadly about your opportunities to make a difference.
  • Marketing and Implementation Strategy
    1. Create your market positioning statement. This may be directed at a hypothetical employer, industry, organization, or the world at large.
    2. What compelling value will you offer to your employers and society?
    3. How will you differentiate from other Stanford students? How about from the broader populace?
  • Risks and Mitigation
    1. What are the key milestones and checkpoints in your plan?
    2. How will you measure/determine if you have successfully attained these milestones? How do you define success?
    3. What external factors might affect (positively or adversely) your attaining success?
    4. Develop contingency and risk mitigation strategies.
  • Personal "Board of Directors"
    1. If you could assemble any 2 or 3 people to advise and mentor you, who would they be? They may be alive or dead, family or world leaders, friends or strangers.
    2. Why would you choose each of them? Is it their wisdom, their accomplishments, their words, their creativity, their character, their heroic deeds or something else?