Business Owners Reluctant to Call Themselves Entrepreneurs

At a time when enterprise and entrepreneurs are being touted as the key to revitalising the economy, new research reveals that many people that run their own business are actually reluctant to call themselves entrepreneurs.

Just 4% of business owners think of themselves as entrepreneurs, according to the results of a new survey of 1,200 business owners conducted by business software and services provider Sage.

Sage’s research has revealed that the overwhelming majority of people on the small business front line feel no connection with the term “entrepreneur”. Its Omnibus survey found that “business owner” (53%), “self-employed” (26%) and “businessman/woman” (15%) are the most popular terms people use to describe themselves.

The survey also found that more than two out of three participants (70%) see a person’s vision and drive as key attributes for success and 14% cite numerical or business acumen as the critical requirement.

The research highlights the strong link between entrepreneurs and innovation in the mind of 21st century business owners. Almost half of all respondents (44%) believe that an entrepreneur is someone who has ideas that bring innovations to business — and that is a central component for success according to 14% of those surveyed. But just 25% associate the term “entrepreneur” with someone who sets up or runs their own business.

The report suggests that while entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson and Sir James Dyson are seen as hugely successful, they could also be seen as a barrier to most people identifying with the term entrepreneur.

Lee Perkins, managing director for Sage’s Small Business Division, said:

“The survey suggests that the current crop of business owners find it hard to relate to the term entrepreneur. They think of an entrepreneur as someone who has innovation in their DNA, but not necessarily the drive or basic business skills to succeed. Ideas are vital, but for a business to discover its true potential the company must be grounded in reality and guided by an owner with a sound understanding of financial information.

“At a time when the UK Government is introducing measures to support start-ups and small businesses, through incentives and grant support, translating new business goals and ideas into reality is a significant possibility for many. Pairing the right combination of business planning with drive and passion is the key to long-term success.”

Editor’s note: Whilst we’re on the subject of “reluctant entrepreneurs”, readers might be interested to know that on July 11th business book The Reluctant Entrepreneur: Turning Dreams into Profits is published.

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