After all they say “Hands-on Entrepreneurial Action is all that is required to create a Business”.
I have enough curiosity to keep finding out which of these truisms are valid and which are not. Fortunately I also have a position that allows me to try these experiments given that I run an accelerator program.
TLDR: This is absolutely false. Poor or any planning is better than no plan at all for over 80% of startups. In fact, the earlier the stage of the startup, the more is the value of that planning.
Here is the data
Over the last 3 years, I had the opportunity to identify, select, coach and help 87 entrepreneurs for over 4 months each. I spent about 1.3 hours per week with each entrepreneurial team. In the last 3 years, and in 6 cohorts, there have been a total of 4834 applications we have received and reviewed. Of these my team and I have talked to about 450+ (about 10%) and have met with (for atleast 15-30 min) about 250 of these entrepreneurial teams. A total of 87 of them made it into our accelerator and that’s the sample size. Of these, 89% were from India, and 11% from the US.
There are between 10-12 sprints we run at each of our 4 month acceleration programs. Customer development, technology, product management, design, go-to-market, sales, partnerships, and others. One of the sprints we also run is called the “Operating plan” sprint. I instituted this after the first cohort, when I learned that most investors did not care so much about the “demo day pitch” as much as what the company was going to do with their investment for the next 12-18 months.