Small business owners’ loves, loathes and biggest worries revealed

The UK is built on small businesses. From your healthy living obsessive with their own organic food shop; the craft ale lover who set up their own microbrewery; to the fast car fanatic who runs their own garage. But whilst many are born out of passion, others are created for completely different reasons.

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New research reveals that for half of small business owners, the biggest motivation for going it alone is the simple desire to “be the boss.” A third are seeking a better work / life balance and a fifth are confident they can make more money.

For 19%, being made redundant was the nudge they needed to go it alone while an equal number said they were pursuing a personal passion. A desperate 9% admitted they “hated” their previous job.

In fact, feeling undervalued is the main reason why would-be bosses left gainful employment and ventured out on their own, mentioned by 11% while the inability to pursue their own ideas at a previous job stunted 8%.

When it comes to the day to day reality of small business ownership, the survey revealed the highs and lows.

Three worst things about being a small business owner:

  1. Lack of secure income (52%)
  2. The stress (22%)
  3. Lack of a work / life balance (33%)

Three best things about being a small business owner:

  1. Flexible working hours (66%)
  2. Work / life balance (47%)
  3. Greater control over the future (41%)

But, despite the ups and downs, 89% of small business owners remain confident they made the right decision going it alone and 80% are happier than when they were working for somebody else.

The poll also suggests UK entrepreneurs are getting younger with 40 now being the typical age to set up a business. The research also shows that women are starting businesses at a younger age than men with 41% starting their first before the age of 35 compared to just 30% of men.

When it comes to their biggest concerns this year, auto enrolment and the National Living Wage are fairly low on the list compared to worries about sales and access to finance.

What’s your biggest business concern this year?

  1. Sales (34%)
  2. Access to finance (12%)
  3. EU referendum (7%)
  4. Government spending cuts (7%)
  5. Technology (not being able to keep up) (6%)
  6. IT security (4%)
  7. Auto enrolment (3%)
  8. National Living Wage (2%)
  9. Attracting and retaining staff (2%)
  10. Lack of skilled workers (2%)

When it comes to what would make their life easier, entrepreneurs want the government to reduce the amount of ‘red tape’ involved with running a business, with 19% claiming less paper work and increased access to government grants would make a big difference.

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