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Is the Business Plan Really Dead and Should it Be?: A Case for the Lean Start-Up Approach

In: The Great Debates in Entrepreneurship


  • Alex F. DeNoble
  • Ted D. Zoller


The emergence of the lean start-up movement has cast doubt and skepticism among entrepreneurship educators and practitioners regarding the usefulness of writing a formal business plan for training the next generation of entrepreneurs. In one camp, there is a group of entrepreneurship education professionals who continue to advocate for the usefulness and necessity for teaching students these basic business plan development skills. In an alternative camp, there is another faction of education professionals who believe that the business plan process is counterproductive and is an unnecessary distraction for today’s millennial entrepreneurs seeking to create their own new ventures. In this chapter, we argue why it is important to adopt a lean start-up framework and approach in both entrepreneurship courses and in curriculum design in early-stage venturing. We offer 10 reasons why entrepreneurship educators should place less emphasis on business planning and more emphasis on business modeling during the early stages of evaluating the feasibility of a venture. We believe that educators and curriculum designers need to rethink the traditional approach of building an entrepreneurship program based upon the business plan as the guiding framework. We then conclude our discussion with suggestions on where and how elements of the business plan can and should be introduced into the new venture development process and appropriately positioned in entrepreneurship curricula. We propose a renewed and reconciled view of the Lean Start-up versus Business Plan debate, as both are considered necessary but neither is sufficient to support the full lifecycle of the venturing process.

Suggested Citation

  • Alex F. DeNoble & Ted D. Zoller, 2017. "Is the Business Plan Really Dead and Should it Be?: A Case for the Lean Start-Up Approach," Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth, in: Donald F. Kuratko & Sherry Hoskinson (ed.),The Great Debates in Entrepreneurship, volume 27, pages 21-34, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aseizz:s1048-473620170000027004

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