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Starting own business is admirable but too stressful, say Britons

More than half of Britons admire the hard work of small business owners but many admit they do not want the stress of being their own boss, according to a new poll.

Researchers found one-quarter (23 per cent) of adults were leery of starting their own business – but a sizeable minority (31 per cent) would give financial help to a friend or family member who was doing so.

Pollsters commissioned by AXA UK found Britons believed the top qualities a start-up owner needed to for success were being hard-working (53 per cent), motivated (48 per cent) and well organised (46 per cent).

Nearly one-third, or 31 per cent, feared the lack of security involved in running their own business and 11 per cent did not want others relying on them. However, four in 10 of the 2,000 surveyed did like the idea of being able to work on something they were passionate about.

Claudio Gienal, chief executive of AXA UK and Ireland, 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.”

A separate poll of 500 small business owners in the UK who employed fewer than nine workers found that more than one-fifth had borrowed cash from a family member to support their business.

For emotional support, 44 per cent relied mostly on their partner, while 19 per cent found other entrepreneurs truly understood them.

Alan Sugar was named the entrepreneur most British small business owners would like to emulate.

He was followed by Elon Musk and the vice-chair of West Ham, Karren Brady. The top advice small business owners gave others looking to follow in their footsteps was to believe in themselves and learn from their mistakes.

Mr 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.”

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