SCORE Small Business Blog

Thinking About Starting a Business? Just Do It

Are you thinking about starting your own business? If so, you might be a bit wary about whether to take the startup leap. It’s scary to dive into a whole new world, and natural to be concerned about what waits on the other side. So I thought you’d like to hear from some real entrepreneurs—specifically, the 2,000 of them who were polled in The Hartford’s Small Business Success Study.

The study focused on small business owners’ outlook in today’s challenging economy. Despite the many hurdles they face, the entrepreneurs who were polled are very optimistic. In spite of the current economic environment, 51 percent project they will be “very successful” in the next two years.

Sure, being a small business owner isn’t perfect. There are plenty of challenges—those cited by companies in the Hartford survey included the economy (which had affected 57 percent of businesses), difficulty obtaining financing, government regulations, rising costs and difficulty finding customers. Given all these hurdles, why were entrepreneurs so optimistic?

Well, maybe it’s because they don’t define success based on profits. Yes, money does matter: 79 percent say achieving a comfortable lifestyle is an important measure of success. And 77 percent say increasing the profitability of the business year over year is very important. But just 18 percent believe this is the most important factor in defining success.

In contrast, 82 percent say what’s most important is doing something they feel passionate about. By that measure, these entrepreneurs are highly successful: 90 percent love being business owners.

Perhaps that’s why not every business owner surveyed has dreams of being the next Google. Although 52 percent consider themselves growth-oriented, 48 percent say they are “maintenance-oriented,” meaning they want to maintain their businesses at the current size. And no matter what size their businesses grow to, 81 percent want to remain closely involved in daily operations.

What should you take from this survey? If you’re on the fence about entrepreneurship, I suggest you give it a try. There’s no way to know how you’ll feel until you take the plunge. And as the entrepreneurs in this study prove, if you love it, you’ll really love it.

Need help getting ready to start? The folks at SCORE are here to assist. Visit SCORE’s website today to get matched with a SCORE Mentor and get free business advice 24/7.

Rieva LesonskyCEO, GrowBiz Media
Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. | @rieva | More from Rieva

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