Knowledge acquisition activities occurring may be just as critical to firm survival as pre-existing knowledge and experience, because knowledge acquisition activities enable the augmentation of existing knowledge and the exploration and pursuit of new strategic directions. Drawing from organization theory and entrepreneurship theory, we examine two important sets of knowledge acquisition activities: knowledge acquired through planning and knowledge acquired through learning by doing. We examine the direct impact of these activities on the survival of new firms and examine the extent to which planning and learning by doing can compensate for low prior knowledge and/or management experience. We find that while learning by doing promotes firm survival and can compensate, planning deters firm survival and can not compensate.