Success, Satisfaction and Growth
• Small-business owners generally feel that their current businesses are successful. On a scale of “1” to “10” with “10” meaning “extreme success” and “1” meaning “total failure,” owners evaluate their firms as 7.3. Twenty-one (21) percent assess their ventures as a “9” or “10.” Only 17 percent rate theirs below the scale’s mid-point.
• Small-businessmen and women who feel that their businesses are highly successful identify “quality of products and/or services” and “treatment of employees, customers, and business associates” as the two factors that most influenced their evaluations. Those who feel their businesses are not successful most often cite “financial performance” as the factor most influencing theirs. “Personal satisfaction” and “growth performance” are comparatively infrequent bases on which owners rate their firms’ success.
• The personal satisfaction small employers realize from owning their businesses is 8.0 on a scale of “1” to “10” with “10” meaning “extremely satisfied” and “1” “extremely dissatisfied.” While personal satisfaction is positively related to business success, more satisfaction is achieved by small-business owners than success. Forty (40) percent rate their personal satisfaction from business ownership as a “9” or “10.”
• Forty-two (42) percent of small-businessmen and women spend the most time on a typical day in operations/making the product or service. Sales and marketing consume the most time for 22 percent while 15 percent volunteer that they just hop from task to task. Comparatively few typically spend most of their time in planning and strategy (10%), finance (6%) or personnel (3%).
• One likely reason that so many small employers receive so much personal satisfaction from business ownership is that a majority (51%) spend most of their time doing what they like to do best. The most popular type of activity is operations/making goods or services (35%) and marketing and sales (32%). The two areas where small-business owners as a group would like to spend more time and apparently cannot are sales and marketing (32%) and planning and strategy (17%).
• Small-businessmen and women are indifferent to the term used to describe them. More prefer “small-business owner” (47%) than “business owner” (26%) or “entrepreneur” (20%). But, comparatively few object to any one of the three. “Entrepreneur” draws the most objections (12%).
• Fifty-one (51) percent of small employers want to grow. However, most who want to grow have modest aspirations. Eight to 9 percent of all owners would like to become “growth” firms.
• Forty-three (43) percent of small employers prefer to remain the size that they are now. The most frequent reason for their preference is that they feel comfortable with the business as it is (44%). The lack of financial and/or human resources (22%), the risks expansion implies (14%), and a limited market (13%) are other frequent reasons. Three percent would like to contract.
• Terminating a business large enough to employ people is usually not a “spur-of-the-moment” decision. Twenty-three (23) percent of current owners say that they plan to get out in the next few years. Fifty-nine (59) percent of that group plan to sell. One-quarter intend to form another business.