Previous studies investigating the relationships between business planning and performance have led to inconclusive results (Brinckmann et al., 2010; Delmar & Shane, 2003; Frese, 2009; Gruber, 2007; Honig & Karlsson, 2004).

Institutional theory argues that firms develop business plans as an answer to external and internal pressures to gain legitimization (Delmar & Shane, 2004) and funding from different stakeholders (Karlsson & Honig, 2009). Action theory suggests that planning will pave the new venture creation journey by providing milestones and a program to implement (Frese, 2009).

However, studies with an institutional perspective imply that nascent firms are either conforming to or looking for the benefits of these external or internal pressures (Karlsson & Honig, 2009) while action theory assumes that the plans will be implemented (Frese, 2009).

This paper attempts to (i) investigate if the intended uses of the business plans provided by nascent and young firms match theiractual uses during their venture creation process and (ii) to examine how the types of uses of business plans impact the firms’ outcomes over three years.