LESS THAN HALF (45%) of British small business owners identify themselves as entrepreneurs, while a further 44% reject the title outright, a new survey reveals.
The remaining 11% were clueless as to whether the description applies to them or not.
These somewhat bizarre results emerged from new AXA Business Insurance research.
Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance, which carried out the poll, suggested that today’s small businesses may be put off by celebrity entrepreneurs, who tend to be wealthy, highly-driven and extrovert: “The question for me is why small businesses are undecided about their own identity as entrepreneurs? I think it’s partly explained by the word ‘rich’, the idea an entrepreneur is someone who flies in from New York every day. It’s also this notion of being a ‘risk taker’ which is rather uncomfortable.
“Risk is a huge part of any business – just as much for a man in a van with a plastering business as for a tycoon. You’re not risking millions every day, but you’re still staking your financial future on your business and taking on legal liability on behalf of employees and customers.”
Those who identified themselves most strongly with the entrepreneurial badge of honour were men, at 52% of business owners, compared to 38% of women in business. Yet 82% of 16 to 24 year-olds regard themselves in that light, falling to 32% for the over 55’s.
Tradesmen revealed themselves to identify most easily with being an entrepreneur, with those living in the north east (60%) topping the poll, followed by the Scots at 50% and 39% for the rest of the UK.
When quizzed as to what traits were needed to succeed in business, ‘determination’, followed by ‘positivity’, ‘ambition’ and ‘passion’ were liberally peppered throughout the responses.
In contrast, the more thoughtful qualities of ‘intelligence’ and ‘being a good listener’ came way down the list in thirteenth and fourteenth places, but were much higher for older and more experienced business owners.
Founder of Virgin Sir Richard Branson topped the poll of most admired entrepreneur at 53% followed by Sir Alan Sugar with just 11% of the vote. Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates could muster only 4%, ahead of fictional TV rogue, Arthur Daley.