Small business owners have no regrets about starting up

Most owners of small businesses have no regrets about starting up on their own. This is according to a recent survey that also revealed a distinct lack of planning in UK small firms and the role of mothers in starting up.

The research, from Panasonic Business Systems as part of its Be Your Own Boss campaign, suggests that over 83 per cent of new entrepreneurs prefer being their own boss, while 87 per cent don’t miss receiving the same salary. Almost two-thirds are glad to be rid of the boredom of being an employee and are happier being busier.

The survey also reveals 57 per cent of the owners asked were concerned about coming across as too small, with more than two-thirds of men concerned about not being big enough and wanting to appear bigger than they really were.

More worryingly, 54 per cent of UK businesses start life without any kind of business plan, with women the least organised (40 per cent having a plan, compared to 53 per cent of men).

When it comes to inspiration to start up on their own over a quarter cite a desire for more freedom and flexibility. One in ten women go it alone because of having children or wanting a change of lifestyle and a fifth of women are encouraged to start up by their mothers.

Appropriately enough the springtime is the most popular for taking the plunge and setting up a business, while six out of ten respondents thought best age for starting up is in your thirties when you have the right mix of energy and experience.

Technology plays an ever-increasing role in running a small business as two-thirds rely on computers and broadband connections to stay competitive and project a professional image.

‘Being my own boss’ biggest reason to start up

Being free to make one’s own decisions is the biggest single reason for entrepreneurs to start a business, research finds.

According to a poll of 588 company directors by SmallBusiness.co.uk, 28 per cent identify ‘being my own boss’ as the key factor in persuading them to start up.

‘To improve my work/life balance’ is the next most popular choice, with 22 per cent of the vote.

The option ‘To make my fortune’ was chosen by just 13 per cent, making it second only to ‘I grew tired of corporate life’ (6 per cent) as the least popular choice.

Angus Elphinstone, founder of delivery auction website Anyvan.com identifies with the 28 per cent of respondents who say they want to be their own boss. ‘This freedom has at times been outweighed by the sheer amount of hours and hard graft I’ve put into developing the website and building our customer base but ultimately, I’ve just never liked being told what to do,’ he says.

Elphinstone adds that money can be secondary in the process of starting up. ‘I’d hazard a guess that everyone who starts a small business is driven by the hope that one day they will make their fortune and be able to retire in the Caribbean on a very large yacht, but I’m not surprised that only 14 per cent chose this as their driving factor. Ambition and the rush of being at the forefront of and adapting effectively to market changes is [more] addictive.’

John Antunes, head of SME at business management software provider SAP says that there are many who would love to start their own venture but ultimately don’t want to take the risk. ‘Even if the risk is believed to be worth taking, start-up businesses are now competing in a harsh environment that requires speed of thought and action that reflects this. The ability to respond to business challenges at any time is essential,’ he says.

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

Related Topics

Starting a New Business

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