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Insights for Entrepreneurs

Why Brits Love Owning Their Own Businesses

Many people across the U.K. dream of being their own boss and owning their own business, but starting up a company can make for a cause for the kind of financial stress and operational worries you’d otherwise not have to worry about as an employee. There were 5.5 million private sector businesses in the UK by the end of 2016, up 2% from 2015, according to business statistics compiled by House of Commons Library

So, why is being self-employed and working for oneself a growing trend in the UK? To find out, have a look over these survey results exploring how gender, age and location can affect our feelings about running our own companies…

 

Which of the following things do you love the most about being a business owner?

 

• Being your own boss: 76%

• Flexible working hours: 64%

• Having the final say: 40%

• Putting a team together: 25%

• Salary perks: 16%

• Business travel: 9%

• Other: 6%

Gender

 

Male and female business owners agreed on all aspects of entrepreneurship, across the board. 76% of both men and women indicated that being your own boss was the part of owning a business they loved the most, while flexible working hours coming in at a close second (65% men and 61% women).

 

The results also indicated that men appear to value having the last word much more highly than women. Having the final say is a major attribute for 49% of men but with women this view is only held by 27% of them.  However, the importance of leadership is clear among both genders, as putting a team together appealed to 25% of men and 24% of women.

 

If you were of the view that having the freedom to travel for business and reaping great financial rewards were leading factors of owning a business, according to this survey you’re mistaken. For men, only 16% indicated that they loved the salary benefits, while a lower 10% claimed to associate value with business travel. Similarly, the salary and travel aspects achieved only 17% and 7% among the females surveyed.

 

It appears as if what we love most about operating our own businesses is genderless, this despite the difference in the value we place on getting the final word.

 

Age

 

After dividing our survey-takers up into genders, we then proceeded to divide everyone into the age brackets of: 18-24-year olds, 25-34-year olds and 35-44-year olds. As was the case with the gender-based results, being your own boss was valued the most for all ages — although a colossal 99% said it was their favourite part of owning a business from the 18-24 category!

It also seems as if 18-24-year-olds aren’t as concerned with their staff as the other age brackets are, with a mere 8% indicating that it’s what they loved about entrepreneurship compared to 30% of 25-34-yearolds, and 15% of 35-44-year olds. Each age group agreed that flexible working hours made for their second-favourite thing about running their own business. However, the business owners of the 18-24-year old age bracket were clearly more enamoured with flexibility than the rest. 85% of them said they loved it the most while only 63% from the 25-34-year age bracket agreed, so too 43% of 35-44-yearolds.

 

Having the final say ranks third among all ages as well. However, it would seem that that this is more important amongst the younger business owners, with 46% of 18-24-year olds, 41% of 25-34-yearolds and 36% of 35-44-year olds indicating that getting to set the rules was the factor of running your own business that they liked the most. Additionally, with regards to money, it’s clear that youth values financial gain more than their older respondents. 23% of 18-24-year olds consider it their most-loved part of business-owning compared to 16% and 14% of 25-34-year olds and 35-44-year olds, respectively.

 

While all participants were in agreement about the ranking of being you own boss, having the final say and flexible hours, it’s evident that the younger you are, money and flexibility make for greater bonuses of the job.

 

Location

 

Finally, we separated our respondents by country: England and Scotland. Interestingly enough, it’s within this comparison that we witness our first real dispute. English business owners indicated that being your own boss made for the aspect of running a company they liked the most (76%), while flexible working hours came out on top among Scottish survey-respondents, this by quite a difference (89%). In the England and Scotland lists these two factors switched places, with flexible hours coming in at second place in England (64%) while being your own boss claimed the second spot among the Scots (67%).

 

However, the numbers were similar on both sides with both sets of respondents rating putting a team together as a great part of being a business owner (25% in England and 22% in Scotland), so too salary benefits (18% in England and 11% in Scotland). As is evident, getting the last word in is more important among Scottish entrepreneurs than English (56% and 42%, respectively), while business travel surprisingly featured lower down on both lists (9% in England and 11% in Scotland).

 

Essentially these results are quite similar, but it’s perhaps accurate to point out that Scottish owners value their work-life balance and free-time a lot more than English businesspersons, who evidently much rather prefer their job for the authority it gives them.

 

If these results are anything to go by, becoming your own employer and starting a new business could be just the life-change you’ve been looking for.

 

The exploration of this survey’s findings were commission by Cottages in Northumberland, a holiday lettings agency based in the NorthEast of England that provides cottages in Bamburgh and multiple locations across the region. As part of this survey, respondents had the option of selecting more than one answer and the results were divided by age, gender and location.