We asked business owners what running their own company is really like to find out if they really are passionate about what they do. This is what we found out.
It seems obvious to presume that if you are a business owner, you must be passionate about your business. With the amount of time and work required to run your own business, surely all business owners must be passionate about what they do? Well, we wanted to find out for certain.
We conducted a survey of small business owners to find out their views on running their own business. Most of the respondents worked in companies of fewer than five people, although the largest company has up to 25 staff.
This is what they had to say.
100% are passionate about running their business
The results are in, and it’s pretty much what we expected. It’s heartening to learn that every single business owner we surveyed is passionate about running their business. In addition, 25% mentioned that ownership of the business was the reason for their passion. Being one’s own boss is undoubtedly appealing.
When asked to elaborate, one respondent – who runs a HR consultancy – said: “I have a mission to make workplaces great and for people to enjoy their jobs, and have a healthy work-life balance.” A personal coach said: “I love what I do and know I can make a difference.”
Attitude and values are important in staff
When asked the most important quality that they looked for in a potential employee, 63% cited attitude and values. This was considered more important even that experience or hard work.
When asked to explain further, one business owner said: “I need people who believe in what we are trying to achieve. Skills can be learned… Passion and values come from within and cannot be faked.”
Running your own business may not be for everyone
As all of the business owners are passionate, it may not be surprising that most of the respondents would recommend running one’s own business to others.
Most, but not all. Of those surveyed, 38% would not necessarily recommend it.
“I don’t think running a business is for everyone,” said one business owner. “It is important to understand what is required, especially in the first few years.” Another said that the level of stress might put some people off.
So what might be the reason for feeling stressed as a business owner? Of those surveyed, 50% cited making sales as the most difficult factor in running a business. Time management was the second most cited factor, at 25%.
But those who would recommend it had some positive words for those considering going it alone. One praised the “freedom to be who you are” and ability to “follow your passions”. Others cited job satisfaction and work-life balance as positives.
One business owner encouraged potential business owners by saying: “If there is something you want to do, you should always do it.”
Hindsight is 20/20
We asked business owners if they could have done one thing differently when they first started their business, what it would be. Answers included delegating better, collaborating more, and starting to network sooner. One respondent wishes they’d learnt “how to connect and market the business to find people who believe what we believe”. Another wishes they’d started their business sooner.
Those who run their own business seldom look back
When asked if they’d consider going back to a ‘normal’ salaried job, 75% of the respondents said they wouldn’t. Reasons included having the “freedom and passion to be who I am”, and wanting to work for oneself.
Of those who responded that they would consider going back to a salaried job, one qualified this by saying they’d do it to supplement their business, rather than replace it.
Advice for new business owners
One business owner questioned had this advice for new business owners: “Don’t chase the money and stick to your guns.”
Having an ethos is seen as very important. The owner continues: “Become an expert at explaining what you believe in 60 seconds. And don’t work with people who don’t get what you are doing – it won’t work.”
To this end, it’s worth understanding your company values, and keeping them at the forefront of your mind. This way you can make sure you end up working with like-minded people.
What do the results tell us?
Running your own business requires passion and dedication. The results are clear when it comes to that! But it’s important to remember that getting things off the ground can be easier said than done, and continuing to run your own business requires a lot of time and effort – but the reward of being your own boss and having your freedom within your career is hard to beat.
Are you thinking of starting a new business, or expanding your current business? Get in touch with one of our business advisers to find out how to realise your passion and take it to the next level.