Attitude check: Small business owners say it’s all worth it

Michelle Di Gangi
Posted by Michelle Di Gangi
Small Business Banking

Small business owners know that uncertainty, long hours, and near-constant pressure may come with the job, but those realities don’t compare to the benefits, said most of the respondents in our annual survey.

Top view of Asian American male business owner at a wooden table in coffee shop, taking notes and looking at his laptopIn fact, an overwhelming majority (86%) say everything they’ve sacrificed for their business has been worth it. Among the upsides they cited were the freedom of being your own boss and the sense of community that can flourish through interacting with customers.

We all know running a business is not for the faint of heart. Most owners (82%) say they’ve put everything they have into their businesses. But this year’s Small Business Growth Survey suggests that the sacrifices and hard work they put in are worth it.

Personal perks and freedom

Some of the benefits that emerged in our research, conducted online by Harris Polls in spring of 2016 with 505 small business owners, related to personal independence:

  • 94% of owners said their business puts them in charge of their own destiny.
  • 91% love the freedom that comes with being a business owner.
  • 83% said running their own company makes them feel empowered.
  • 67% feel they are providing a legacy for their families through the business.

Small business ownership isn’t always a financial decision. Perks like the flexibility to chart your own path and create a legacy for the family are a big factor, too. These are benefits that many other career paths do not offer.

Living with challenges, but steady

Our survey respondents also acknowledge significant challenges that may lie in their paths. The hurdles include living with uncertainty (52%), always being on the job (43%), and avoiding burnout (40%).

Financial worries also crop up for many small business owners, including saving enough to retire (41%) and managing cash flow (31%).

Regarding their outlook on the U.S. economy, small business owners appear more pessimistic (40%) about the year ahead compared to last year’s cohort (35%). But that hasn’t shaken positive expectations for their business’ performance in the coming year (81% vs. 80% in 2015).

The part of our survey that tracks business financials shows a trend toward expecting growth. The Bank of the West Small Business Growth Index score for 2016 is 55, which is up slightly from 54 in 2015. (On a scale of 1-100, a composite score higher than 50 indicates growth.)

In general, small business owners appear confident in their near-term business success, and they continue to invest the time and resources to get there.

To learn more about the findings, I invite you to explore the full summary and this infographic that highlights data on women small business owners.  I will also post further insights from the survey here in the coming months.

Reminder: All comments are moderated prior to publication and must follow our Community Guidelines.

  • Anonymous says:

    Very interesting insights!

    Reply | 2 years ago
  • Anonymous says:

    Those surveyed have never dealt with crooked General Contractors; they stiff specialty subs regularly for their customer and themselves

    Reply | 2 years ago
  • Anonymous says:

    Small business owners WORK 24-7. They cannot day dream on the job, nor can they quit without repercussions any time they feel like it. Think being a business owner is easy? Four out of five fail in the first year.

    Reply | 2 years ago

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