Entrepreneurs thrive on independence

While financial gain may commonly be perceived as the main reason to start up an enterprise, research by YouGov shows an overwhelming 89 per cent of business owners rated independence to make their own decisions as a key benefit of running a business.

The second most popular benefit of running one’s own business was flexibility and work/life balance (72 per cent), followed by satisfaction of having done it oneself (70 per cent).

Over 800 business owners participated in SMEs in the UK – Seizing the Growth Challenge. The survey, commissioned by electrical manufacturer Panasonic, went on to ask respondents to consider what factors they think will be the most important in helping their businesses grow over the next five years: new products / services were seen as most important (32 per cent), followed by having qualified and motivated staff (30 per cent), and winning a big client (29 per cent).

When it comes to trying to understand what SMEs in the UK define as their own business success, the research found a number of differing point of views.

Over half of the business owners surveyed cited ‘enough income to support my family’ (57 per cent) as the number one definition of success. ‘Still being in business after ten years’ (49 per cent) was the second highest ranking view of success, trailed by ‘having a great idea and making it happen’ (35 per cent). ‘Being a millionaire’ ranked as one of the lowest definitions of success with a meagre eight per cent.

The research project also found that the growth of a company was overwhelmingly harder than starting up (stated by 41 per cent of business owners compared to 10 per cent who found starting up more difficult). The greatest challenges to business growth were identified as lack of money for investment (51 per cent), excessive legislation (47 per cent), and lack of time to dedicate to growth (46 per cent).

The factors that were holding business owners back from growing further were again cited as excessive legislation (34 per cent), and the cost of growth (29 per cent), however, the highest scoring factor in this category was looking for a better work/life balance, not burn-out (39 per cent).

Marc Barber

Marc Barber

Marc was editor of GrowthBusiness from 2006 to 2010. He specialised in writing about entrepreneurs, private equity and venture capital, mid-market M&A, small caps and high-growth businesses.

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