Entrepreneurs in business for more than the money

Contrary to popular opinion, people set up in business to improve their quality of life rather than make their millions.

A survey of over 600 young companies, less than three years old, found just a tenth said they started up to make money. Surprisingly, only three per cent said they had opened for business after spotting a gap in the market.

Far more people took a more realistic view, citing ‘lifestyle’ as the reason for taking the plunge. Just over a quarter wanted to bring about a change of direction in their lives and almost a half simply fancied working for themselves.

The popular conception of the Del-boy wheeler-dealer dreaming of riches looks redundant. Mike Langston, chairman of BT Small & Medium Enterprises which carried out the study, said: “Today’s entrepreneurs seem to be in favour of a more realistic approach to running a business, designed to fit around their lifestyles and life stages.”

Jan Everton set up JEMarketing for two reasons. First she thought that her former employer, which carried out marketing for IT companies, actually gave such enterprises a poor service. “I thought I could do it better,” said Jan.

“This realisation was combined with the fact that my daughter had started Sports College and was expensive to maintain – I thought that I could increase my income substantially by working for myself,” she went on. BT’s GetStarted website has other case studies and useful information.

For example, Dee Halligan of design and technology consultant Decoda, said the experience of a former employer going into liquidation prompted her and her business partners to take the leap.

“Living through that naturally made us rather ‘risk-averse’ though we were confident of success once we were running projects ourselves and able to make key decisions,” explains Dee.

Entrepreneurs take the lead

Entrepreneurs are more likely to lead the country out of recession than the government, according to research by The Entrepreneurs Board, a business networking organisation.

Some 28 per cent of the survey’s 2,000 respondents thought that entrepreneurs were more likely to have a positive effect on the economy, compared with 24 per cent backing the government.

The entrepreneurial spirit in the UK is in rude health, with a high proportion (38 per cent) of respondents planning to run their own business at some stage. Among the reasons cited for setting up on their own, flexible working (45 per cent) and relishing the challenge (44 per cent) were the most common.

Guy Rigby, head of entrepreneurs at accountancy firm Smith & Williamson, says: ‘Not only does the general public increasingly understand and back entrepreneurship, but many people are itching to get more involved. This kind of enthusiasm can only bode well for our economy.’

Richard Branson wins the most votes for business role model (58 per cent). The late Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop came second with 25 per cent of the votes, while Peter Jones (23 per cent) is the most popular investor in the BBC Show Dragons’ Den.

Article: With thanks to Lloyds TSB Success4Business

Related: Tips for budding entrepreneurs – Mark Woolley gives his thoughts on how entrepreneurs can stay on top of their game.

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