Study reveals people are too frightened to become their own boss or start a business


MORE than half of people say they admire how hard-working small business owners are – but a quarter don’t want the stress of becoming their own boss.

A poll of 2,000 adults revealed 23% are too frightened of failure to take the plunge and start their own enterprise.

The top traits deemed essential for a start-up owner to be successful are being hard working (53%), motivated (48%) and organised (46%).

And 35% believe being willing to take risks is key for running your own business.

It emerged 31% would consider providing financial support to a friend or family member who had an idea for a new business.  

But 31% fear the lack of security and stability if they were to set up their own business, while 11% wouldn’t want others relying on them.

On the plus side, however, four in 10% love the idea of being able to work on something they are passionate about.

Claudio Gienal, CEO at AXA UK and Ireland, which commissioned the research, said: “Launching your own business is a huge decision, one that requires courage, self-belief, and drive.

“Despite the challenges that face small businesses, the majority of those who have done it believe it’s one of the best decisions they’ve ever made.   

“While there are many perceived barriers to going out on your own, the rewards speak for themselves.”

Further research of 500 small business owners in the UK (with under nine employees), commissioned by AXA UK for their Startup Report, found more than a fifth have borrowed cash from a family member to help support the business.

But in terms of emotional support, 44% rely mostly on their partner, while 19% find other entrepreneurs are the people who truly understand them.

Alan Sugar was named the entrepreneur most British small business magnates would most like to emulate in terms of success, according to the OnePoll figures.

He was shortly followed by the world’s richest man, Elon Musk – and then current vice chairman of West Ham, Karren Brady.

And the top advice small business owners would give others looking to follow in their footsteps would be to simply believe in themselves – and to learn from their mistakes and this is one of the most important trait for being your own boss.

It comes as AXA UK this week launches their Startup Angels competition, which is giving six businesses the chance to win £25,000, 12 months business insurance and mentorship from some of Britain’s best entrepreneurs.

Claudio Gienal added: “At AXA UK, we recognise the all-consuming nature of going it alone but with the right support, advice and protection, the opportunities are endless.”

Top advice from British small business owners:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Learn from your mistakes
  3. Be ready to learn
  4. Be patient
  5. Care about your work
  6. Spend money wisely
  7. Don’t be afraid to change
  8. Be prepared to listen to advice
  9. Do work you care about
  10. Learn how to market your business
  11. Know your goals
  12. Have a financial plan
  13. Have a vision
  14. Be willing to fail
  15. Learn from complaints
  16. Be willing to take risks
  17. Ask for customers’ input
  18. Be critical of yourself
  19. Face your fears
  20. Find good people to work with

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