The purpose of this paper, which participates in the lively debate between the Learning School and the Planning School, is to investigate whether a business plan can still support planning a start-up in uncertainty conditions. By analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the business plan process, we propose an evolution of such a process, through the use of simulation models, to manage uncertainty. Using simulation models, especially what-if simulations, the start-up founder is able to improve the cognitive process in order to assess the project’s feasibility. Furthermore, with simulation, business plan overcomes some of its traditional weaknesses and improves its strengths and opportunities. It can also become a training tool in the entrepreneurship programs promoted by public institutions. By integrating forecasting, planning and simulation models, the business plan can be more comprehensive and provides more information about the environment in which the start-up has to play the game. Thus, the business plan becomes “not just an evaluation of a project’s profitability, but also the future story of an idea, in which people are the central point of the success”.
Keywords: business plan, uncertainty, simulation models, decision making, start-ups
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