When last polled, the majority of small business owners would recommend starting a business today. More than three-quarters of small business owners (79%) would recommend starting a business today, while 21% would not.
Business owners that describe today’s business environment as either better or the same compared to when they started their business make up 71% of the small business owners. Of those respondents, 46% said the business environment is better and 25% of business owners describe today’s business environment as worse. Business owners who started their company during or closely following the recession (4-9 years ago) were more likely (57%) to say the business environment is better today than when they started. Among those who started their companies 10 to 19 years ago or 20 or more years, only 44% and 32% respectively, said the business environment is better compared to when they started their company.
Business size also had an impact on owner’s outlook: 81% of business owners with 100-500 employees say the business environment is better today than when they started, compared to 69% of owners with 20-29 employees, and 46% of owners with 1-19 employees. Owners of larger businesses were also more likely to recommend starting a business today. 94% of owners with 100-500 employees and 91% with 20-99 employees would recommend starting a business today compared to 78% of owners with 1-19 employees.
Why do so many entrepreneurs recommend starting a business today?
Of those business owners who would recommend starting a business today, the vast majority (74%) cited the satisfaction of working for themselves as the top reason they’d recommend starting a business today. The second most popular (59%) reason why business owners recommend starting a business is the schedule flexibility entrepreneurship offers that working for someone else may not. This reason was also selected by (67%) of females compared to (47%) of males.
This was also the most popular option (67%) among business owners age 18-34, reflecting the flexible work trend valued by millennials and Generation Z.
It would be wise for any would-be entrepreneurs to contemplate the reasons not to open a business in the current climate. When those business owners who said they would not recommend starting a business today (21%) were asked why not? (76%) said that the economy is difficult for small business owners. I personally spoke with three local small business owners to get their feel of today’s business climate.
David Jay, of Jay’s Boom Truck LLC; Truman Tucker, of Tuckers Casino; and Christopher Walker, of Walker’s Cleaning Services.
David’s business was passed down to him from his father. He states, “there are advantages and disadvantages in today’s business environment”. He referenced the fact that 20 years ago when the company was at its peak. The company had three boom trucks and a dedicated workforce. He said a lack of constant work and finding dedicated employees is a big challenge in today’s climate. Truman on the other hand has been in business for over forty years and feels today’s climate is ripe for starting a business. He sees the fall of large businesses and a better support network for small businesses as a plus.
Chris is a newbie to the business environment, he has only been in the business for a couple of years now. Yet, he is in the 79% that would recommend starting a business today. He has seen firsthand how starting a business today can change your life for the positive. He is still in his twenties and has a successful thriving business. Which he contributes to all the support and resources now available to small business owners.
For the most part, today’s business owners are optimistic about the future of small businesses. Nearly two-thirds (64%) are optimistic about their ability to make a profit (58%) are optimistic or very optimistic about their prospects for growth. (50%) are optimistic or very optimistic about the U.S. economy.
But some of the everyday, inevitable issues facing their businesses remain a concern for today’s entrepreneurs: (90%) of business owners are at least slightly concerned about the rising cost (38%) are very concerned. (84%) of business owners are at least slightly concerned about taxes (37%) are very concerned. (67%) of business owners are at least slightly concerned with finding quality employees (30%) are very concerned. And approximately (25%) of business owners are at least somewhat pessimistic about their ability to hire and raise wages respectively.
Today’s business owners ranked these as the biggest barriers to getting started;
- Access to capital (28%).
- Competition in general (25%).
- Lack of adequate business planning (24%).
- Competition from online businesses (22%).
- (Three tied for the fifth position) Finding quality employees (19%), Complying with regulators (19%), and Taxes (19%).
It seems the future of small businesses is optimistic at best,