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The Portable MBA in Finance and Accounting, 4th Edition by John Leslie Livingstone, Theodore Grossman

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14
Business Planning
Andrew Zacharakis

How This Chapter Fits in a Typical MBA Curriculum

Business planning is often central to teaching entrepreneurship.1 Entrepreneurship is an iterative cycle between thinking and acting. If would-be entrepreneurs only think and never act on that thinking, then they are what I affectionately term “cocktail entrepreneurs.” For any new business or invention that comes around, cocktail entrepreneurs will regale you with tales about how they thought of this idea first and how the company that ultimately launched it stole their idea or some other reason why the entrepreneur didn’t act. In reality, “cocktail entrepreneurs” are missing a key component to entrepreneurial success—the ability to act on their ideas. Likewise, entrepreneurs who act without thinking are apt to make more mistakes, and those mistakes are often much more costly than the less serious missteps of entrepreneurs who are active thinkers. Thus, entrepreneurship is an iterative balance between thinking and acting.
Within most MBA programs, there is a course that is focused on business planning, because it is a means to gain deep learning about the opportunity that you wish to pursue. While most MBA courses focus on producing a formal finished product that the entrepreneur can share with investors or other stakeholders, it is the process that is important. As I tell my students, I don’t care whether they produce an actual written document or just accumulate numerous computer files ...

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