For me, the highlight of any day is speaking with a business owner. It’s always interesting. It’s always motivating. And I always learn something new about people, business, or another corner of the world.

Which is why my annual survey is such a treat for me: I hear from hundreds of business owners everywhere (62 countries this year!) Thank you to everyone who contributed: I am profoundly grateful.

As you can see in the map above, entrepreneurs span the globe. If your country isn’t represented (I’m talking to you, Iceland and Greenland) then watch for my survey next year.

Here’s a quick summary of the survey responses.

You’re mostly owners with some advisors and corporate-types mixed in for fun. The average size of your business is 4.96 people and the average age is just over 3 years.

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The percentage of smaller firms reporting they’re profitable is lower than larger firms. No surprise to anyone, I’m sure. Smaller firms are either reinvesting their cash or they’re taking it home or they’re simply making less money.

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Older firms tell us that they’re more profitable than younger firms. Again, no surprise here. But look at the jump in the percentage of profitable businesses from 3rd to 4th year! If your business makes it past the deadly first year, things get steadily better.

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And now we get to my bias…

I believe that planning is critical to preparedness and success in business (or, indeed, any journey that has a specific destination). My survey suggests that larger and more profitable businesses do more planning. That said, does planning lead to profit or does profit lead to planning? The survey doesn’t answer that.

However, it does highlight that business owners who don’t plan have more concerns. In particular, a significantly higher percentage of non-planners worry about money than planners.

Also, non-planners are apparently less confident. They wish they had more guidance, know-how, clarity and inspiration.

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None of this should be news to anyone. Planning doesn’t magically generate cash. But it does create insight and awareness. It highlights potential problems earlier. It helps owners deal with issues proactively. Along the way they learn and get better and more experienced. And more confident!

I’m a huge fan of entrepreneurship in all its forms and I’m glad that it is now celebrated so widely. However, the promotion of business ownership has also brought a debate that questions the importance of business planning. Astounding, really, because no other complex field, whether architecture, engineering or airlines, ever questions the value of planning.

Whoops! I better stop here and get back to the survey…  🙂

Along with these general concerns, you shared hundreds of other very specific issues with me. I have read all of them and they are influencing my thinking and planning as we speak. I look forward to sharing these details with you after the summer break.

In the meantime, I feel privileged to be included in your journey. I look forward to working even closer with you this year to help you achieve your business and personal goals.