Does the author Carl Schramm really believe that entrepreneurs should “burn the business plan” as suggested by the provocative title of his book? If you asked the former president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the answer would probably be no.

Schramm Titled with Bright Colors, Burning the Business Plan: What Great Entrepreneurs Really Do offers many other suggestions. Schramm, a professor at Syracuse University who The Economist calls “The Evangelist of Entrepreneurship,” wrote this book to dispel the myths that people hear about entrepreneurship and share the truths to build a lasting success.



What is burning the business plan?

Burn The Business Plan covers the main scenarios that entrepreneurs face in terms of defining entrepreneurial expectations. The first chapter argues of course in favor of the business plan, but the rest of the book is motivated by the creation of the company. The book also looks at resources, both professional and personal. It also examines how to learn from other entrepreneurs and how to create an entrepreneurial culture.

The rest of the book focuses on the motivations that drive entrepreneurs to start a business. Good points and counterpoints exist in chapters, with support materials if possible. In Chapter 5, for example, Schramm warns of toxic mentors and gives four examples. Looking for an example of how entrepreneurs can improve their learning speed, Schramm mentions OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act), an approach to decision-making used by pilots when they do quick judgments. Designed by John Boyd, an Air Force pilot who served in the Korean War, this approach helps entrepreneurs broaden their point of view, one of Schramm’s main goals in book writing. .

What I liked about Burn the Business Plan

Schramm does a very good job of providing helpful explanations that show the reader why some business ideas are accepted without question even though they may not stand up to scrutiny. I liked the focus of the book on creating a platform and selecting mentors. When Schramm explains how an idea is executed, he notes how it goes through product testing.

“Nobody knows at the start … exactly how his idea will be valued by the customers.So, each startup becomes a platform on which to develop and test the utility of a product in evolution. ”

As software becomes an integral part of a business model, businesses must rethink how they deliver products and services. This means deploying several dynamic plans rather than a single static business plan and rethinking your roadmap regularly as the information changes.

Schramm’s ideas flow easily from chapter to chapter without being repetitive. In fact, Chapter 6, Big Businesses Can Be Schools for Start-ups, was a standout chapter for me. Schramm explains how large companies benefit startups in a somewhat unusual way. While these behemoths can certainly evolve, they can also become bureaucratic. This sometimes leaves opportunities and innovations open and unexploited. And these can attract employees who have never shown an interest in entrepreneurship before starting businesses to take advantage of these opportunities. Schramm calls these people Spinout Entrepreneurs and explains how and why they can contribute to the success of a small business.

“Very few spin-out entrepreneurs create companies outside of the industries in which they work.The obvious reason is that they have acquired specific knowledge. An industry often move from one company to another.They are not hired because they bring business secrets, but because they know the common culture of the company. industry. ”

Schramm shares some specific stories, such as entrepreneur Gary Burrell, chief designer of King Radio, who then designed the communication and navigation systems used by King’s customers.

Schramm says that Ewing Kaufman, founder of Marion Labs and the Ewing Institute Marion Kaufmann (former employer of Schramm), had particularly inspired him. In fact, Schramm eventually dedicate the book to Kaufman. According to Schramm, Kaufman had always encouraged this type of entrepreneurship, even if it meant that some employees would leave:

“Ewing Kaufman is pleased to know that many new businesses, at least fifteen, were created by former employees of Marion Labs.He considered his business as a nursery for business. other contractors. ”

Schramm, however, also explains the need for something more from entrepreneurs in such a place:

“But being in an innovative environment is not enough – a budding entrepreneur needs to pay close attention to the process by which companies develop new products.”

I know a lot of lost entrepreneurs who have identified a product or service, but not a clear idea about how they will deliver this product. The Amazons of the world know the delivery, and Schramm likes it too. It provides stories of successful entrepreneurs and ignores the typical statements of “passion-is-important” to examine the practical side of what works and what does not work.

What could have been done differently?

What may have been missing in the book was a chapter on team dynamics. While the book relied on many well-chosen stories to assert its points, more detail could have been helpful to see exactly how people behind the scenes made things happen.

But much of this lack of detail is due to the brevity of the book. And the thinness of volume is also his virtue, providing important, easily digestible ideas for busy entrepreneurs who can not have the book for a long read.

One of Schramm’s most significant concepts is how innovation can accompany acquired knowledge along the way. An example of this book is how two coaches from the University of South Carolina have applied their observations on the materials used in many sports uniforms to launch Sheex, a performance bedding manufacturer.

Why read burn the business plan?

Entrepreneurs should learn to plan without letting their plans become restrictive. Reading Burning the Business Plan will help you see how you focus not only on your vision, but also on how to turn a vision into a concrete reality by providing real added value to customers.

Image: Amazon.


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