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How rigorous is your organization about business planning?

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

How rigorous is your organization about business planning?

  • Very — we write thorough business plans: 21%
  • Somewhat — we’ll write OK business plans: 36%
  • Not very — we rarely write business plans: 31%
  • Not at all — what’s a business plan?: 13%

Business Plans Aren’t Only for Startups. Any time you’re investing in something new to grow your business, it helps to lay out a plan. The extra time spent up front thinking about how you’ll roll things out, the barriers and risks you face, and contingency plans you can put in place now will save you headaches down the road. There are many myths about business plans and how they’re only for entrepreneurs. If you can get past those and look at business planning as part of the normal course of doing business, you’ll find your new ideas fare better in the market with far fewer negative surprises.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS, author of “Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results” and “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”