I recently attend the USASBE conference in New Orleans, a conference largely for college and university entrepreneurship programs. The sessions were quite good and I learned a lot, but I was surprised by a discussion theme that came up in multiple sessions. The question is about the value of completing a business plan. At both the high school and post-secondary level the business plan is a teaching tool that forces students to go through the process in their heads, do their research, flesh out their idea and , well...plan their business. We have business plan competitions. However, it seems that the formal business plan is not a tool real entrepreneurs actually use. At the conference the term for what entrepreneurs actually use is a "robust executive summary." There seemed to be agreement between educators and entrepreneurs on this point. The debate was about the value of the business plan as a teaching tool. Should students of entrepreneurship spend their time working through all the parts of a business plan or focus on business idea identification and development? Do banks, VCs or other funders require it?
Post your feelings on this subject here and please be ready to advise me on this topic whem we meet on Feb 29. I am really looking forward to our meeting!