THE MODERN BUSINESS PLAN
The Modern Business Plan:
Grow like topsy, over-extend yourself, acquire everybody else in your field, and make sure to have plenty of non-core assets that can be unloaded at bargain-basement prices without actually damaging core infrastructure.
Be sure to plan your bankruptcy well in advance; have a strategy for maxing out on debt and forcing pennies on the dollar settlements for the majority, while renegotiating with key suppliers. Sequester capital and ownership in spin-offs, preferably independent entities with ownership offshore.
Remunerate top executives beyond all rational levels before bankruptcy, compensate them generously from reorg funds during bankruptcy, and cut them in for a share of the leaner, meaner, company after bankruptcy. This way they will be obedient, and can also be future capital reserves.
Map out the logistics of shredding and deniability in advance; compromise regulators, and anybody else who might take your chamor to court.
Obfuscate - "Your honour, I dinna rightly remember" (the Scotch accent might buy you time).
Document storage should be farmed out to several layers of out-of-state shell-corporations.
A weak firewall is an advantage; Mr. Virus is your friend.
So is Mr. Lighter Fluid.
Undercut anybody who might benefit from your weakness, then buy them into the thundering freight-train with worthless stock; especially in those spin-offs that will be gutted or cannibalized during your bankruptcy. There is no reason they should profit, or have any advantages at all while the market readjusts. Your debts should bankrupt your competitors' suppliers - and also their clients, if at all possible.
Strategically place yourself for a government bailout. This way the public has an investment in glossing over events. It helps if one other company is the villain, and several other companies are the victims.
Please note: The text above was written during a fit of cynicism right after WorldCom Inc.'s chief executive said that the company hoped to emerge from court protection within a year with a shrunken debt load and fewer peripheral assets. Which was hours after filing the largest bankruptcy in history.
Which was four years ago.
I'm over my cynicism.
Honestly I am.