Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Americans Want to Open Businesses

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Survey Finds Two-Thirds of Americans Want to Open Businesses

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in America according to a new study. This week, in conjunction with National Small Business Week, the UPS Store released their first annual Inside Small Business Survey, which found that two-thirds of respondents dream of opening their own small business. While there are many motivating factors driving workers toward entrepreneurship, the survey also looked at some of the challenges that are holding would-be business owners back.

Perhaps one of the biggest perks of being a small business owner is the ability to be your own boss. Naturally a number of respondents agreed, with 38% naming that as their top motivator. Meanwhile 17% of those surveyed said they found believing in their own idea motivated them to open a business. Additionally 15% said they were enthusiastic about setting a new career path for themselves by starting their own venture. Similar to what we’ve seen with existing small business owners, prospective entrepreneurs have also shown optimism about the future, with nearly half of respondents saying they’d feel confident about opening a business in the next year.

Commenting on the survey’s positive aspects, Dr. Luke Pittaway of the Ohio University College of Business said, “Don’t be fooled, the American Dream of owning your own business is still very much real, especially when compared to the rest of the developed world.” He added, “How Americans are choosing to open small businesses is where we’re seeing the largest shift. Consumer habits are changing, forcing Americans to consider how they open small businesses in 2018– whether it’s focusing more on e-commerce than actual storefronts, or focusing on selling to a local community or region instead of a broader national audience.” However, despite those developments, there are still several challenges new business owners face in getting their ideas off the ground.

As you might expect, the number one fear Americans have about opening a new business involves financial security, with 45% of those surveyed stating those concerns. On related notes, 39% said they were intimidated by the costs associated with starting a business and 37% had a fear of failure. Speaking of operating cost, the survey also asked what expenses respondents associated with running a small business. Among the top answers were the price of supplies and equipment (72%), basic operating costs (69%), and advertising/marketing costs (65%).

Interestingly the generation with the highest percentage of “wantrepreneurs” was Generation X. Three-quarters of Gen Xers surveyed dreamed of owning a business, which puts them above Millennials and Baby Boomers. Of those Generation X members surveyed, 29% said they wanted to open a business that offered technology solutions, 22% dreamed of opening a restaurant or food service location, and 21% planned on starting a consumer goods business. Dr. Pittaway explained these findings, saying, “It should come as no surprise that Gen Xers are the generation that feel the most optimistic and most willing to branch out and start their own small business. This portion of the workforce is most likely well established in their career, financially equipped and starting to think about how they’ll spend the final stages of their career.”

While it shouldn’t be shocking that many Americans dream of opening their own businesses, it’s always encouraging to see surveys like this latest UPS Store report. Moreover, with new industries blossoming and various technologies making it easier to start a new venture, there’s good reason why so many respondents are optimistic about their chances. With that, hopefully the majority of these small business dreamers will soon be able to turn their plans into reality.


About 3 years ago, I decided to leave my job and start working from home. From there, i finally fulfilled my dream of starting a small business. Having online work gives me a flexible time and financial security while on the process of starting my business.

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Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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