Thursday, April 13, 2023

There's No Plan Like No Plan - Book Tour


KidVenture Vol. 2


Middle Grade Fiction

Date Published: 02-23-2022

Chance & Addie are back for a new adventure. Riding high off of the success of their first business, they decide to launch a new venture, this time shoveling snowy driveways in the winter. They are full of confidence: they have a team of kids, a shed full of shovels, repeat customers, and, best of all, a great plan. 

But sometimes the perfect plan can get in the way of adapting to something as fickle as the weather. Will they learn to be flexible and figure how to make this new venture work? They're losing money fast as new challenges pile up faster than the falling snow. Perhaps a curious new partner can show them the way.

photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.pngKidVenture stories are business adventures where kids figure out how to market their company, understand risk, and negotiate. Each chapter ends with a challenge, including business decisions, ethical dilemmas and interpersonal conflict for young readers to wrestle with. As the story progresses, the characters track revenue, costs, profit margin, and other key metrics which are explained in simple, fun ways that tie into the story.

This is not a Review Tour, but I have reviewed this great book before and couldn't help but add it here.

This is the second KidVenture book I have read by Steve Searfoss. I hate to sound as if I’m plagiarizing myself, but this one is as good as the first, maybe better. “There’s No Plan Like No Plan” is an even more in depth lesson in the basics of a successful business. This time instead of a summer business of cleaning the pool, Chance, a bright and precocious 11 year-old, has determined that snow shoveling would be a real money-making winter opportunity. Talk about an icy and slippery venture. He gathers his “Board of Directors” to determine the best way to manage each phase of the business, marketing, labor, materials, etc. It might be that his whole Board of Directors consists only of his two sisters but nonetheless, they all have a piece of the pie as far as business profits and/or losses are concerned:) This Board has a wonderful mentor called Dad. A mentor who teaches the actual nuts and bolts of a business but never once makes the decision. A true teacher.

Steve Searfoss has once again put together a really fun book for kids and yet somehow managed to sneak in an excellent lesson about finances and running a business. Aside from being easy to read and humorous, this is seriously a great book. It’s very well-written and clear. Even with the worksheet examples, the reading flows smoothly. I commented in a review on the first book that it’s too bad more “grown-up” entrepreneurs don’t read it. The same is true of this book. It has great examples, even worksheets, to teach money management as well as profit and loss, labor costs, fixed costs, well I could go on and on. I did before (go on and on that is), I’m going to tell you how great this would be for young readers and young adults, maybe 10 to 15 years of age. More importantly, I’m going to encourage you to read this right along with your kids or grandkids. Or read it separately and discuss it.



About the Author

I wrote my first KidVenture book after years of making up stories to teach my kids about business and economics. Whenever they'd ask how something works or why things were a certain way, I would say, "Let's pretend you have a business that sells..." and off we'd go. What would start as a simple hypothetical to explain a concept would become an adventure spanning several days as my kids would come back with new questions which would spawn more plot twists. Rather than give them quick answers, I tried to create cliffhangers to get them to really think through an idea and make the experience as interactive as possible.

I try to bring that same spirit of fun, curiosity and challenge to each KidVenture book. That’s why every chapter ends with a dilemma and a set of questions. KidVenture books are fun for kids to read alone, and even more fun to read together and discuss. There are plenty of books where kids learn about being doctors and astronauts and firefighters. There are hardly any where they learn what it’s like to run small business. KidVenture is different. The companies the kids start are modest and simple, but the themes are serious and important.

I’m an entrepreneur who has started a half dozen or so businesses and have had my share of failures. My dad was an entrepreneur and as a kid I used to love asking him about his business and learning the ins and outs of what to do and not do. Mistakes make the best stories — and the best lessons. I wanted to write a business book that was realistic, where you get to see the characters stumble and wander and reset, the way entrepreneurs do in real life. Unlike most books and movies where business is portrayed as easy, where all you need is one good idea and the desire to be successful, the characters in KidVenture find that every day brings new problems to solve.

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Excerpt from "There's No Plan Like No Plan"

“So if the weather is constantly changing you need….what?” My
dad finished his banana and threw the peel in the wastebasket.
“Uhm?” I thought about it a bit. “To also be changing…?”
“Exactly. You need to be flexible, if you’re going to build a
business on something as fickle as the weather.”
I suddenly realized he was right. “I guess I haven’t been too
“Why not?”
“Well I had it all planned out. I thought it would be just like the pool
cleaning business.”
“It’s good to have a plan, Son,” my dad said. “But sometimes,
there’s no plan like no plan.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well if you get too attached to your plan, that can be bad.”
“Because you’re too focused on the plan and not paying enough
attention to what’s actually happening. The better your plan is, the
harder it is to adapt.”
“It was a good plan, I thought.”
“I’m sure it was. But like I said, the better the plan, the harder it is
to accept reality.”
“How can that be?”
“Because plans are so nice and tidy and logical. Everything
happens the way it should in a plan.”
“But life doesn’t work that way,” my dad said. “When was the last
time life was nice and tidy and logical?”
“So I shouldn’t make any plans?” I put my hands up. “That doesn’t
make any sense.”
“Oh, you should make plans,” he said. “Just don’t fall in love with
them. Be ready to toss it out or change it the first time reality
doesn’t match the plan.”
“I see.” What he was saying was starting to make sense. “I think I
was doing the opposite.”

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