33% of Small Business Owners Lack the Motivation They Had When Business Was New

Small Business Motivation Statistics

Do you still have the same passion for your business as when you first started? A new study from Vistaprint has revealed 33% of small business owners in the US say they don’t have the same motivation as in those early days of their entrepreneurial journey.

In the study, more than a third or 36% said they experience this lack of motivation several times a year. The reason, of course, will vary from owner to owner, but Vistaprint says they can get their mojo back and get excited about what led them on this path in the first place.

For small business owners, the high level of stress which goes along with running a company is one of the biggest reasons for losing their enthusiasm. In the study, stress is identified as one of the primary contributors for losing one’s motivation.

In an emailed press release, Vistaprint Customer Strategy and Insights Director Simon Braier compared starting a business to starting a relationship. Braier said,  “There is the honeymoon phase that carries you through for a while, but long-lasting relationships and businesses both require a lot of work and can come with a few rough patches.”

And as anyone who has been in a relationship knows, you have to be on top of things if you want it to succeed. Braier added, “By consistently reminding yourself why you started your business and seizing new opportunities you can avoid slumps in motivation and keep the spark alive.”

Small Business Motivation Statistics

The study comes from a survey which was carried out in February 2019 with the participation of 365 small businesses owners with 0 to 10 employees.

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The survey was also administered in Canada with 371 respondents, and the UK with 294 respondents.

In the US, the top reasons for losing motivation was high levels of stress at number one, followed by lack of regular/stable salary, and lack of work-life balance.

The respondents in the UK gave a lack of regular/stable salary as their number one cause followed by stress, and lower than expected potential. In Canada the lack of regular/stable salary was on top, followed by stress and lack of work-life balance.

The fact all three countries identify high levels of stress as the top two reason highlights the role stress plays in one’s motivation to continue to do what they are doing.

As to how they were able to identify their lack or loss of motivation, respondents in the US gave procrastinating on necessary business projects as their primary reason. The other reasons were not posting on social media and not updating the website as often.

Running a small business means staying on top and any procrastination will eventually be responsible for the downfall of the company. With more small business now online with e-commerce, not updating a website or posting on social media is also a recipe for failure.

Respondents in Canada and the UK also said procrastination was their top reason for identifying their lack of motivation.

Keeping the Passion Burning

In the survey, Vistaprint also asked the participants in all three countries how they keep their passion alive over the years and if they could offer some tips for small business owners.

The first tip is a great one. They said, “Remind yourself why you started your business in the first place.” You might think you will never forget why you started your business, but as the survey points out high-level stress and other issues can make you forget.

Some of the other tips are: seek new challenges and set new goals, refresh your brand, create partnerships with other businesses/brands, hit the “reset” button by taking time away from your business and more.

Image: Depositphotos.com

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

6 Reactions
  1. Motivation and excitement will naturally ebb and flow. There’s nothing wrong with that. Entrepreneurs just need to keep going.

  2. Nice work. I think it’s normal to have lulls in motivation. Working with providers like bookkeepers and business advisors can certainly help you to keep motivated if you’re travelling the right (or wrong!) direction.

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you very much.

    I think the key is to recognize when you are having these ‘lulls in motivation’ and putting a stop to them early so they won’t snowball into other parts of your business or personal life.

  4. I guess it happens. People adapt. So after some time, it can get boring. It is how you get through this period that matters.

  5. This article is both interesting and surprising. Interesting for its content and that the percentage (33%) is almost identical to the percentage of small business owners who think about selling their small businesses (at any given time). I’ve personally conducted my own study to confirm this percentage.

    The article is surprising because it doesn’t address selling the business. Sometimes burnout is a factor. Sometimes another business opportunity is distracting the business owner. It can be a number of things. I’ve been an entrepreneur 25 years and I’ve sold 3 small businesses successfully. Now I help people buy and sell small businesses.

    Depending on how long the business owner has owned the business and regardless of size, it might be time for a change. Realizing value for the business instead of letting burnout or lack of motivation affect the business to the degree it fails is an extremely important consideration.

  6. Hi Scott,
    Great points.

    Like you said, better to sell the business and find another venture that will keep you motivated instead of letting what you have built crumble.

    Thank you.