Update on History of Business Plans

Four years ago I posted A Short History of Business Plans including my experience plus data from a Google search of usage of phrases in books. The search is interesting because it transcends the web and online data by digging into books.

Usage in Books

I tried a similar search yesterday and was disappointed to discover that it hasn’t been updated past 2008, which was the same most recent date available in 2011. It turns out the Google book search I used then still runs only through 2008, as it did then. Bummer. That’s disappointing. So here’s that data:


I find it kind of cool – obviously meaningless, but still cool – how neatly that blue line parallels my personal experience with business planning. I first heard about it in the middle 1970s, started to really like it – and do a consulting business around it – in the middle 1980s, and then developed Palo Alto Software and business planning software for business plans in the middle 1990s. No wonder it seemed important to me. Look at the blue line.

However, still curious about how usage has fared since 2008, I decided to turn to web searches for a better update. So I did a  a Google Trends search for “business plan” and “entrepreneurship.” The conclusion is that the searches for business plan and for entrepreneurship are stable, and seem to correlate very closely.


I’m not sure what to make of that visual correlation, and much less what to make of the appearance of both of these lines turning flat over the last four years. What do you think?


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