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Demonstrating that money cannot buy you everything, Richard Branson has topped a poll of business heroes as voted for by business owners themselves, beating the world’s third richest man, Bill Gates, into 2nd position.

In a recent poll commissioned by online accounting software firm KashFlow, 936 business owners were asked to identify their business hero. Chairman of the Virgin Group, Richard Branson topped the polls with 34%, with the third richest man in the world, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates coming in at 2nd place.

As the poll below shows, net worth was obviously not the deciding factor for many SME owners. Ex Dragons’ Den business angel Richard Farleigh and current Dragon Peter Jones came in third and fourth places respectively, despite their combined worth being less than a third of 5th placed Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Dragons’ Den’s success in terms of viewing figures is potentially the reason that three of the Dragons made the top 10, although Duncan Bannatyne will almost definitely be “out” when he sees that he only just scraped in at 10th place.

Despite a 2003 Labour Party survey that revealed 30 per cent of business owners are women, the results of the KashFlow poll only featured one female, Oprah Winfrey. The American chat-show queen is worth an estimated $2.5 billion and came in 9th on the poll with 3.5% of the vote.

Below is the full top 10, including the percentages of owners who voted for them.

Business owners had a choice of potential business heroes to choose from, with 92.9% of those polled selecting one of the top 10 as their role model.

The full list of MD’s and CEO’s up for votes included; Katie Price, aka Jordan, who received 0.6% of the votes, Jamie Murray Wells, Sir Alan Sugar, Simon Woodroffe, James Caan, Deborah Meaden, Doug Richard, Donald Trump, Victoria Beckham and Rupert Murdoch.

Name - % - Estimated Net Worth

1. Richard Branson - 34% - £4.4 billion
2. Bill Gates - 14% - $58 billion (2008)
3. Richard Farleigh - 10.3% - £66 million (2006)
4. Peter Jones - 8% - £300 million
5. Stelios - 7% - £1.29 billion
6. Steve Jobs - 5.4% - $5.4 billion (2008)
7. Michael O’Leary - 4.7% - €466m
8. Warren Buffet - 4% - $62 billion (2008)
9. Oprah Winfrey - 3.5% - $2.5 billion
10. Duncan Bannatyne - 2% - £200million

Duane Jackson, Managing Director of accounting software firm, KashFlow said,

“It is clear that entrepreneurs really admire the runaway leader Richard Branson, and maybe this is down to his never say die attitude and his willingness to put his personal reputation on the line in the search for good media exposure. Maybe if Bill Gates has shown the same passion for Public Relations he would be on the top of the poll.”

He continued,

“We commissioned the survey to help us understand how we should be marketing ourselves to SMEs and build long term relationships along with winning even more market share. It is clear that business owners aspire to companies and individuals who aren’t afraid to take a calculated risk in pursuit of their goals.”

KashFlow launched its flagship product, an online tool specifically designed to help owner-managers in small businesses manage their accounts, in mid 2005. Since that time it has quickly won a significant share of the valuable accounting software market along with launching a new direct to accountant division in late 2006.

In late 2007 KashFlow won a Business Software Satisfaction Award, judged entirely by customer feedback, for the category of web-based accounting beating the likes of Sage and Netsuite.
The KashFlow accounting package is securely hosted online, requires no installation and can be trialled for 60 days for free by visiting http://www.kashflow.co.uk .

The site also displays examples of feedback from actual users.

END

Editors Notes:

For further information contact, 10 Yetis Public Relations Agency andy@10yetis.co.uk or 01452 527898.

In 2007 KashFlow won a Sift Media award, judged entirely by customer feedback, for the category of web-based accounting beating the likes of Sage and Netsuite

KashFlow has received two rounds of venture capital funding from Lord Young of Graffham, former Secretary of State for Trade & Industry and ex Chairman of Cable and Wireless

KashFlow won the 2007 Software Satisfaction Awards category of Best Web-Hosted Accounts

KashFlow is simple to employ, with users instinctively knowing where to click to perform almost any accountancy task

Owner managers are able to effectively manage their accounts with no need for software training or prior knowledge of accountancy

KashFlow has been featured in the likes of the Financial Times, Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Mail on Sunday and all the leading accounting magazines.

*Source: ONS

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