【2014年8月6日】本會董事應邀出席了香港中文大學EMBA課程學員在北灣柏克萊舉行的敍會,席上張式坤會長與各位學員分享營商心得,致詞撮要如下:

Sharing with the EMBA Class

(A speech delivered at meeting with CUHK EMBA class in Berkeley on 8/6/2014)

Frank Cheung, CPA

President, OAA-CUHK (NC)

It is my honor to speak in front of a group of successful business executives and two renowned professors tonight. I know that you have a long day today. I will keep my speech short.

I was puzzling what topic I should talk about tonight that is conducive to the learning of this EMBA class with different industry background. I finally decided to share with you the skills in short term, long term, and strategic business planning that I learned 30 years ago. I use them then and now. Some of you might still find them useful.

First I would look into the goals, objectives, and the mission. Then, I look outside at the uncontrollable constraints that governing the business environment, namely, the cultural, political, legal, economical and social factors that business has to observe in the past, present and future. Then, I look into the technology that has great impact on the environment factors and business. I start to take notes and gather information that is relevant to the goals, objectives and/or the mission.

Now it is time to look at the project from the company’s point of view. How large is the market? Who are the major players in the market? Who is the market leader? Is it a technology intensive or a capital intensive project? What are the risks factors associated with? Is there a way to mitigate it? Is there any substitution product? Are there good supporting industries nearby? Are pools of talented work force available? Is the product a trend setter? Is a break through technology involved? Or is it only serving a niche market segment? Is the project feasible in terms of company's current technology know-how, financial and human resources? What are the strength and weakness of the company to carry it out? Are the assumptions made realistic? Etc…

After I am satisfied with the information to all these questions, I move on to detail analysis. I turn to the good old 4Ps which is an abbreviation for ‘Product’, ‘Promotion’, ‘Pricing’ and ‘Placement’. Here I also ask some more questions, analyze the information I have, to determine the course of actions. Then with the help of financial tools available, I analyze the financial data associated with the plan. Finally I come up with alternatives and conclusions for the plan.

The first alternative is to do nothing if the cons are greater than the pros and the negative factors out weigh the positive elements. Then, I work out a list of to-do-something recommendations. I think that is the essence of business planning. The ideas and concepts are still the same, year after year. However, the means and tools change so fast, making life long learning a must.

Finally, I would like to cite one product and one service as examples for your intellectual exercise.

The product I select is iPhone. It was introduced in July, 2007. The iPhone 6 is coming up soon. Think about the product itself, the life cycle and circle of Apple products, the pricing and promotion strategies (long line formed before first day sales, real or stage?) and the ways to distribute it are all crucial factors for analysis purpose.

The service that comes to my mind is the IPO of Facebook. You might find it interesting when you examine the ways they promoted it and their decision on timing, pricing, and manipulation of the quantity of shares issued to maximize FB's war chest while leaving the investors with nothing but loss at the early phase of IPO.

It is just some food for thought.

Thank you