Computer-aided Visioning and Learning-oriented Models: A New Edge for Small Business Planning?

Authors: Carmine Bianchi, Graham Winch, Colin Grey

Many unresolved issues plague the field of academic research and practitioner debate surrounding the role and value of planning in the small firm, though a recognized obstacle to the introduction of any formal system is the simple lack of time and resources. Conversely, it has been demonstrated that planning can be a powerful lever in pursuing change and growth, in small firms as in larger ones. The main thesis of this paper is that the scientific debate on SME planning should not only concern the planning activity per se, but also the rationale upon which decision making process is based. In also questioning the value of traditional planning approaches in the precarious situation of the growing small firm, this paper proposes a learning-oriented modeling approach to small business planning. This approach can build the critical bridge between the informal planning and entrepreneurial thinking of the SME manager, and the formal plans upon which many growth ambitions are predicated.

Paper presented: 44th International Council for Small Business Conference, Naples 20-25 June, 1999