Seattle, Washington (PRESS RELEASE – October 27, 2009) – Biznik, the award-winning support community of entrepreneurs and small businesses, recently teamed with a professor from the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business to determine the primary concerns and motivations of U.S. entrepreneurs. The survey of nearly 1,000 small business owners across the country showed that while entrepreneurs face a number of challenges ranging from sales challenges to lowered personal income to a sense of isolation to a lack of healthcare coverage, the overwhelming majority of them are satisfied with their decision to pursue their own businesses.
Passion and values continue to be the leading motivations for starting a business. Nearly one-third of respondents said the most important reason for starting their business was that they wanted to do something they enjoy. Another 25% cited the fact that they did not want to work for someone else. And, while only 60% of the respondents said they were satisfied with the performance of their business, 91% claim they are satisfied with their decision to work for themselves.
“Overall, the study supports the entrepreneurial spirit and the value of following your passions and personal ideals to find satisfaction and financial success,” said Biznik co-founder, Dan McComb. “We saw that, even in tough economic times, these people are able to quickly adapt to changing technologies and market dynamics and do what they need to do to keep driving forward.”
The 58-question survey was sponsored by iStockphoto, the world’s leading royalty-free stock multimedia destination, whose customer base is largely small buinesses. It covers a range of topics including demographics, business type, work habits, operational issues and personal issues faced by the Biznik community. Taken as a whole, it gives significant insight into what drives entrepreneurs to succeed and what they are willing to do to protect and grow their businesses. The complete survey results can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/ybt7lbg.
Operational and Personal Challenges
The small business owners who participated in the survey face a number of operational and personal challenges. On the operational side, 46% cited weak sales as the most daunting challenge they currently face, followed by competition from big business (6.5%), taxes (3.7%), inflation and rising prices (3%), employee quality or costs (2%) and insurance (2%).
In terms of personal challenges, 35% cited reduced income as most significant followed by a sense of isolation (18%), long hours (17%) and lack of health care benefits (12%). Nearly half of the respondents work more than 40 hours a week and 26% work more than 50.
Healthcare and Government Regulation
While relatively few respondents listed health care or insurance costs as their most important operational challenge or lack of health care benefits as their most important personal challenge, nearly 20% of the respondents are without health insurance. Most (39%) are insured through their business or are self-insured. Another 24% take advantage of a spouse’s benefits. More than 25% surveyed are employed by another company in addition to running their own businesses. Of those people, 86% cite insurance as the reason.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (91%) say some type of health care reform is needed; 57% say reform should focus on changes in public sources of health care and 34% believe reform should come from the private sector.
Most respondents (52%) do not see government policies or regulations as having a positive or negative impact on their businesses; 27% see government policies or regulations as having a negative impact on their businesses and 10.6% recognize a positive impact.
Half of the respondents say their current business is slightly different from the business they started; 12.7% say there is a significant difference. The entrepreneurs surveyed rely on a variety of resources and activities to maintain a competitive edge. Networking remains most important and is something that 89% do regularly. 87% use websites and blogs. 58% participate in informal training and 46% participate in training from professional or trade organizations.
Nearly three-quarters (74%) of those surveyed say that they must adapt to changes in the technologies they rely upon for production or delivery. Nearly half (45%) say social media tools are very or somewhat effective in advancing their businesses. More than half (53%) use social media daily or weekly and an additional 12% say they use social media at least monthly.
More than half (52%) say they purchase multimedia (pictures, video and audio) from third-party vendors. Of those respondents, 44% use multimedia for ads, websites or brochures; 30% use multimedia for blogs or social media purposes.
A whopping 90% of respondents understand that there are legal ramifications associated with using multimedia without permission compared to a study conducted by iStockphoto in 2008, which showed that showed only 73% of American consumers understand this. iStockphoto is the stock multimedia vendor of choice and is used by 51% of survey respondents compared to Fotolia (3.6%) and Shutterstock (3.5%). 39% surveyed create their own multimedia content, 20% contract with professional photographers and 13% use Getty Images.
The survey was conducted on behalf of Biznik by Mina Yoo, a professor at University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and sponsored by iStockphoto, the world’s leading royalty-free stock destination. All survey participants are members of Biznik and therefore own or run some type of small business. Approximately 37,000 small business owners received an invitation to complete the survey, which ran from September 2 – 9, 2009.
iStockphoto offers easy, affordable inspiration with millions of safe, royalty-free photos, illustrations, video, audio and Flash® files. Using the most accurate search in the business, customers download a file at least every second from a collection of more than five million files for business, marketing and personal projects. iStockphoto started in 2000, pioneering the micropayment photography business model, and has become one of the most successful and profitable user-generated content sites in the world. iStockphoto pays out approximately $1.2 million weekly in artist royalties. iStockphoto is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Getty Images.
Biznik is an award-winning community of entrepreneurs and small businesses dedicated to helping each other succeed. Biznik helps businesses grow smarter by combining the power of social networks with face-to-face connections that foster collaboration. Based in Seattle, Washington, Biznik connects 37,000 members in 140 countries.