The following is an extract from the monthly Barometer press release issued by the University on Wednesday 20th April 2005.

Recent events in the world of politics have no bearing on business.

The majority view of the UKBB and UKBAB panels was that neither this year's budget nor the upcoming general election would affect prior plans.

159 small and medium sized enterprises responded to the UKBB and 188 business advisers to the UKBAB and almost three-quarters of UKBB respondents (74 per cent) and 73 per cent of UKBAB respondents thought this year's budget would have no effect on their business. Of the remainder, 18 per cent in both camps believed the impact would be negative.

The vast majority of UKBB respondents (64 per cent) said they would not be postponing major strategic decisions for their business until after the general election on May 5.

We asked the same question before the last General Election, held on 7th June 2001. The political atmosphere was different then, the proposed election coming, as it did, before the Iraq war and after only 1 term of Labour government.

Those were amongst the factors which could have influenced respondents' views but even so, the vast majority, 76% , indicated that they were not likely to postpone major strategic decisions until after the Election, compared to 64% in 2005. However 16% say that they are totally or almost totally postponing in 2005, compared to 10% last time.

Do you have a formal strategic plan?

Although it is an acknowledged and accepted rule of business that strategy matters and is needed to be successful and to grow, less than half of the respondents to the UKBB have a formal strategic plan.

This finding broadly agrees with other surveys and informal straw polls and reveals the potential for improvement if more companies can make time to consider their aspirations and the practicalities of how to achieve them.

BB and BAB panellists show that they are quick off the mark

Previous surveys have shown that networking is very important to many entrepreneurs and consultants, and the speed of follow-up to new contacts is an indicator of how pro-actively networking is used in business. Excluding responses of 'not applicable', 73% of UKBAB respondents get in touch either the next day or in the following week, and the corresponding figure for UKBB respondents is 66%.

Full versions of press releases can be found on the 'Presspack' pages of the project's websites, as can 'Survey Presspacks', which include further analysis and panellists' comments. To access them, please use the links below.

For the UKBB click here.

To reach the UKBAB 'Presspack' page, click here.

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