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  • #1117620
    Zava Design
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    yourvirtualboard, post: 132832 wrote:
    …and my question to these business owners is always “how much better might you have done with a little bit of planning?”
    Exactly the question I asked myself after running my freelance biz on the side “accidentally” for a few years.

    There would also be less trial and error, which apart from slowing the process, carries a cost as well.

    100% agree.

    Having a successful business without a business plan in place shouldn’t be a “badge of honour”.

    #1117621
    Divert To Mobile
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    This has been such an amazing discussion I felt compelled to create a survey to get statistics on how many people plan their business in this forum.

    Its only a single question mulitple choice survey. Click here
    Please participate, I’ll post results.

    Steve

    #1117622
    Word
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    From a not quite so small business owner…

    “When I started Virgin from a basement in west London, there was no great plan or strategy. I didn’t set out to build a business empire … For me, building a business is all about doing something to be proud of, bringing talented people together and creating something that’s going to make a real difference to other people’s lives.”

    Richard Branson

    And he probably hires great people to write business plans now.

    #1117623
    Divert To Mobile
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    3 days, 6 respondents.

    5of6 said,
    I prepared a basic or rudimentary business plan with one or some of the core strategies (possibly SWAT analysis, basic marketing strategy, rough finanicails etc)
    1 of the above 5 added,
    also paid for market research on the viability of the idea

    1 of 6 said,
    I didnt put anything formally down on paper and call it a “busienss plan” as such, but I did the sums, considdered the competition, and thought about how I would go about getting this idea off the ground.

    I was hoping for more respondents being my first survey and all. Possibly some were disgusted by the type-O’s which I noticed after the survey was created.
    It looks like no one responding so far simply dives in completely devoid of any level of planning. It may be in that groups nature not to take surveys.

    Even though Richard Branson is one of the formal plan nots, I suspect he puts a lot of thought into what he is about to do before he does it.

    Steve

    #1117624
    JacquiPryor
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    Thanks for sharing Steve – I also thought a few more people might take the survey…. albeit only a small sample at this stage, it would seem that the average soloist here did prepare some sort of plan. Keep us posted should further results appear.

    #1117625
    NathanB
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    JacquiPryor, post: 133398 wrote:
    Thanks for sharing Steve – I also thought a few more people might take the survey…. albeit only a small sample at this stage, it would seem that the average soloist here did prepare some sort of plan. Keep us posted should further results appear.

    Unfortunately I think the sample (regardless of how many participated) wouldn’t be the best sample to relating to the thread title if it was limited to Flying Solo members.

    This simple fact that all the participants are members of this small business forum indicates to me that you are only asking people who may be switched on to better business practices – or at least are interested in discussing/learning better businesses practices. I would guess that most people are here in this forum because they have an above average interest in business.

    I think you’d be better served ringing a X random small businesses in the Yellow pages and asking them if they valued drafting a business plan for there venture. Could be fun and you might get to chat to cool people :P

    #1117626
    kathiemt
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    Perhaps people didn’t know of the survey. I didn’t but have participated now. For the record, I did prepare a business plan, read a lot of information (books, not the internet as that didn’t exist) and asked people questions before I got started.

    #1117627
    JacquiPryor
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    This simple fact that all the participants are members of this small business forum indicates to me that you are only asking people who may be switched on to better business practices – or at least are interested in discussing/learning better businesses practices. I would guess that most people are here in this forum because they have an above average interest in business.

    That’s a fair point… but, I did say ‘the average soloist here…’ ;) But, you’re right – it’s not necessarily the most accurate given the actual subject of the thread is extending beyond the (cyber) walls of Flying Solo.

    There have also been a number of people comment throughout the discussion that they didn’t prepare a business plan… so, it would also suggest that those people have not taken this survey either. Hmmm… so we can perhaps conclude, those of us who did business plans are needing to ‘prove’ we’re right by taking the survey more than those that didn’t do a plan? That could open a whole new can of worms! :)

    #1117628
    Divert To Mobile
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    A completely 100 % accurate result is not possible or realistic.
    Respondents could lie or even change IP addresses to multi vote etc.

    Steve

    #1117629
    NathanB
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    Divert To Mobile, post: 133419 wrote:
    A completely 100 % accurate result is not possible or realistic.
    Respondents could lie or even change IP addresses to multi vote etc.

    Steve

    Based on that interpretation, nothing would ever be 100% accurate :)

    It doesn’t mean we should don’t try – Maybe a stratified sample is order! Then we would only need to test a small percentage of businesses provided those businesses were an acurate representation (% wise) of the greater demographic.

    Start with the Flying Solo business directory :P

    #1117630
    Divert To Mobile
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    NathanB, post: 133447 wrote:
    Based on that interpretation, nothing would ever be 100% accurate :)

    It doesn’t mean we should don’t try – Maybe a stratified sample is order! Then we would only need to test a small percentage of businesses provided those businesses were an acurate representation (% wise) of the greater demographic.

    Start with the Flying Solo business directory :P

    We concluded the FS directory was not an unbiased demographic.

    Steve

    #1117631
    NathanB
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    Divert To Mobile, post: 133451 wrote:
    We concluded the FS directory was not an unbiased demographic.

    Steve

    But it’s a demographic worth study non the less. Our hypothesis could be similar to my original statement in that we believe that FS forum contributors are more likely to have drafted a business plan than not. I would be willing to speculate that, that is correct, although we wouldn’t know until completing a study.

    Perhaps an FS could make an Infographic.

    It would be interesting – even if limited to the FS community – to look for trends that may appear. At a wild guess I’d say accountants or lawyers are more likely to have drafted business plans than creative industry type businesses.

    I would be quite interested to see what information turned up – although not interested enough to do the research myself :)

    #1117632
    Shane Walker
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    Hi Zava Design! It’s Shane Walker here.

    I agree on what you are saying. However, as previously being mentioned, it is a case of you just don’t know what you don’t know. Unfortunately, the system in Australia takes potential business owners through the actual mechanics of their trade like if they are a plumber it teaches them how to connect pipes. At no stage does any of the training teach them how to run a business and what is required to run a business. So, most people only become good at the actual skill that they can do and decide that it makes them qualified to run a business and they get out there with no real idea. Therefore, this is the reason why they fail.

    Regards,

    #1117633
    AGMBris
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    Hi

    yes, I agree – it is an imperative part of planning and being able to move in a direction that is successful.

    Wendy – I think you may have hit the nail on the head there, alot of the resistance for me originally was that I found out the things that I didnt have the skills to do! And often, putting in writing what you want to achieve and how your business will operate is quite confronting.

    I found that the plan or strategies for us change at least on a yearly basis but that first plan has always remained to be the platform for building strategies.

    Interesting topic – because in the end the ones that have to do it are the owners/captains of the business and (even in my years in accounting firms) it is very much a point of avoidance for some reason.

    #1117635
    Divert To Mobile
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    Thank you everyone who participated.
    Here are the final results of the survey.

    22.2% said
    Yes I prepared or had someone prepare on my behalf a formal business plan.

    55.6% said
    I prepared a basic or rudimentary business plan with one or some of the core strategies (possibly SWAT analysis, basic marketing strategy, rough finanicails etc)

    22.2% said
    I didnt put anything formally down on paper and call it a “busienss plan” as such, but I did the sums, considdered the competition, and thought about how I would go about getting this idea off the ground.

    0.0%
    I had no strategic thought behind any of my actions and shooting off the hip just started without any consideration of financials, competition or maketing and here I am.

    1 person said
    I prepared a basic or rudimentary business plan with one or some of the core strategies (possibly SWAT analysis, basic marketing strategy, rough finanicails etc)
    I also paid for market research on the viability of my idea

    Steve

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