Are Business Plans Necessary?

There is a military saying: “No plan survives first contact.” No plan survives, as people are are business plans necessary? unpredictable. The best laid plans must change as soon as one other person enters the equation. If you anticipate a person will zig and instead they zag, one’s strategy must change.

In this process, students will identify three community arts entrepreneurs and interview them about the business plan they did or did not develop for their endeavor.

How to Play:

Students identify three arts entrepreneurs and interview them, asking the following questions:

  1. Did you have a business plan when you started?
  2. Do you think business plans are necessary?
  3. If you had to do it over again, what, if anything regarding planning, would you do differently?

The goal of the student is to perceive patterns, interact with real-time arts entrepreneurs, develop case studies and assess whether or not business plans are necessary.


What most students come to realize in this process is that many arts entrepreneurs begin their ventures without a plan. Some do have plans, but most do not. However, when asked if plans are necessary, a vast majority will typically say that they are.

It appears that what is most important is not the business plan (as a document). The plan becomes outdated almost as soon as it is created for the reasons mentioned above. What appears key is the act of planning–the act of strategizing. In this respect, the plan’s the thing.

Learning Outcome:

In this process, students engage with real-time arts entrepreneurs and learn about the importance of strategizing.

Creative Commons License
Are Business Plans Necessary? by James David Hart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


About James Hart

Jim Hart currently serves as Interim Chair of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship & Director of Arts Entrepreneurship at Southern Methodist University, Meadows School of the Arts. Hart is also the founder of The International Theatre Academy Norway.
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