The short answer, by way of Guy Kawasaki, is nope:
The analysis revealed that there was no difference between the performance of new businesses launched with or without written business plans. The findings suggest that unless a would-be entrepreneur needs to raise substantial startup capital from institutional investors or business angels, there is no compelling reason to write a detailed business plan before opening a new business.
The study, done at Babson College, should give you pause for thought if you’re agonizing whether your micro-ISV can make it without you spending countless hours (or worse, buying an app to walk you through the process, or even worse, bringing on a partner just because they’re good at writing business plans).
Guy makes the good point that VC’s and angel investors expect – but don’t believe – business plans, but that’s for traditional startups which are all about “harvest events” and building corporations. For micro-ISVs, I think, it’s not the artifact called a business plan that is valuable, but several of the exercises you go through, such as SWOT analysis and market research.
Here’s a link to the full study Guy kindly hosts from his site.
[tags]micro-ISVs, Guy Kawasaki[/tags]