For its latest Future Attitudes report, Aldermore Bank conducted a survey of 1,000 senior decision-makers in smaller companies.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents said they started a business because they wanted to be their own boss. A similar proportion (45 per cent) wanted more flexibility and 43 per cent were looking for the freedom to make their own decisions.
Other common reasons included feeling that they could go do a good job of running their own enterprise (30 per cent) and wanting to make more money (27 per cent).
More than nine out of ten SME leaders (92 per cent) were glad they had made the decision to branch out on their own, while one in three (32 per cent) said they had fulfilled a lifetime ambition.
However, the research also emphasised the demands of running an enterprise, with exactly half of the survey respondents admitting it is much harder work than they had anticipated.
Overcoming the challenges
Discussing the findings, Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director for business finance at Aldermore, said one thing that is absolutely vital for any new firm is to have a clear business plan in place.
He said this will help to ensure that “everything goes as smoothly as possible, both in the run up to launch and, more importantly, throughout the critical first 12 months of trading”.
Mr D’Ammassa added: “Small and medium-sized businesses play a critical role in strengthening the UK economy and we must provide them with as much support as possible to ensure they triumph in the long run.
“Establishing or owning a business is a dream for many, however it is key that all budding entrepreneurs realise the extensive amount of time and effort that will be needed to achieve their goals.”
Encouragingly, the study indicated that the UK small business environment offers a strong chance of success for entrepreneurs and SME owners who are willing to put in the hard work.
More than four out of five respondents (85 per cent) viewed their venture as a success. That proportion increased to 88 per cent of firms that began trading in the spring.
One of the biggest challenges for any new company is to find its feet and begin trading successfully, as underlined by the fact that only 59 per cent of SME owners who launched their business this year or last felt it was currently flourishing.
Entrepreneurs who have recently launched a new enterprise can maximise their chances of success by remembering some of these core principles:
– Take every opportunity to keep costs down
– Get cash flowing as quickly as possible
– Research and understand your target market
– If your sales and marketing efforts don’t deliver results, be prepared to change
– Constantly evaluate and measure performance to find areas for improvement
Posted by Julie Tucker
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