Success can’t be planned

I’m a big advocate of entrepreneurs understanding the importance of contingencies and suboptimality factors, especially if they are launching start-up ventures.  But entrepreneurs invariably are encouraged or even pressured to write full-blown business plans by a whole range of professionals who are as much in the business planning industry as they are in supporting the entrepreneur. In the only study of its kind, university researchers have found that “while at times we find that planning leads to persistence, we have found no evidence of it leading to profitability or other measures of success.” The point here is that we still don’t know much about the success or failure factors of start-ups.  And in the absence of that critical knowledge we have inserted the conceit that formal planning is a key determinant of success.  What we really have is the cost and complexity of due diligence passed from investors to entrepreneurs.


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