Sunday, January 13, 2008

Business plans – is failing to plan, planning to fail?

Apparently not according to a report in yesterday’s Financial Times. It reported that a survey by two professors from Babson College in the US, Julian Lange and William Bygrave. The professors surveyed over 100 Babson College graduates who went on to start their own businesses. They found that the performance of these start-ups was unaffected by whether or not they had written a business plan prior to launch.

Perhaps the research is a little more nuanced. For some entrepreneurs, a business plan is not necessary. I had a very rudimentary plan – but it was essentially just me and a laptop.

Before social entrepreneurs rip up their business plans, they should remember that if they want some finance, they will need a business plan. Moreover, if you are taking others (and their livelihoods) with you, a business plan is pretty desirable.

There is lots of useful guidance on business planning out there. I’ve identified some before from Forth Sector. Other sources of help include Microsoft for templates and Future Builders for guidance focussed on the third sector.

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