The Usage of, and Attitude towards, Business Planning and Business Plans: A multiple Case Study

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: This thesis addresses the ongoing debate about business planning and business plans in entrepreneurship literature. In universities all over the world, entrepreneurship classes teach students how to write a business plan, indicating a widespread assumption that both business planning and business plans imply venture success (Brinckmann et al, 2010). Opposing scholars, however, argue that business planning and market success are negatively correlated (Chwolka & Raith, 2012). Timmons and Spinelli (2009) argue that a business plan is obsolete the moment it emerges from the printer, due to the uncertain and dynamic environment. Additionally, contributing to the questioning of the business plan is the trivialization of revenue forecasting. As a feature of the business plan, revenue forecasting is argued to be too assumption based and thus, irrelevant (Alänge & Lundqvist, 2013; Goodwin & Wright, 2010). Instead, what should matter is the economics of the business (Timmons & Spinelli, 2009).The aim and ambition of this thesis is to examine whether startups find business planning and business plans to be necessary activities to establish. This will be accomplished by addressing six study objects’ attitude and use of business planning and business plans. It is a thesis of comparative design, where five startups and one venture capitalist constitute the empirical findings, to eventually be compared to existing literature.Conclusively, the author found that all cases’ attitudes and usage of business planning and business plans are unique. In the broader context, both the planning and non-planning schools are represented, as well as elements of effectuation and causality. It has been challenging to identify similarities in terms of attitudes and usage, which has led to a belief that what determines a company’s attitude and usage towards business planning and business plan is heavily reflected in the entrepreneur’s prior knowledge and experiences.

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