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Timing Is Everything

Is it ever too early to plan? Give your startup an edge by mapping the next 10 years now.

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This story appears in the May 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you're in the startup phase of your business, it can be hard to see all the way to the end of this week, much less the end of a decade. But since we're all about business plans and making maps for success, we at Entrepreneur wondered if it was possible to make a 10-year plan for your startup business.

According to Thomas Kinnear, executive director of the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, it is not only possible, but it's also a good idea. "I think it's a good discipline," he says. "But the further you get out, the less you should think of it as an operational plan and the more you should think of it as a process to drive thinking." Therefore, a 10-year plan is going to look more like a compass than a road map, in that its purpose is to point you in the right direction.

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