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Entrepreneurs stressed, but upbeat about the future

October 9, 2012

The latest ‘DNA of an entrepreneur’ report, which studies the views of over 3,000 business owners across the world, suggests that entrepreneurs may be more stressed as a result of the downturn, but most have seen an increase in customers over the past year.

The annual report, published by leading insurer Hiscox, is based on research into business owners or partners in the UK, US, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and France.

Key findings

  • Despite the economic downturn, which has affected all countries in the study, 48% of respondents said that they were ‘optimistic’ about the year ahead, compared to 27% who were ‘pessimistic’. Of the six nations involved, the Spanish were the most pessimistic, and the Dutch the most optimistic.
  • Encouragingly, most business owners reported an increase in customers over the past 12 months – led by Germany (72%), the USA (64%) and Holland (62%).
  • Almost half of all the small firms in the study reported a growth in profits over the past year, although the numbers vary greatly – just 33% in Spain, compared to 58% in Germany.
  • The average business owners works a 42.8 hour week, although the Germans record an average of 47.1 hours, and the shortest working week is in the UK (38.5 hours).
  • 43% of those polled said that the economic uncertainty had added stress to their lives, although around one third said that the unfavourable conditions had actually made them more determined to succeed.
  • Very few small business owners sought help from business groups, according to the survey (just 22%). 11% had contacted a business organisation for advice or assistance, 3% had approached their local MP or representative, and 1% oF EU respondents had been in touch with their MEPs for business reasons.

The poll results seem to back up the general view that small business owners are resilient by nature, although the views of respondents appears to be heavily affected by how serious the economic downturn is in their particular country – with Spanish SME owners providing the most negative feedback out of all the countries involved in the survey.

Commenting on the ‘DNA of an entrepreneur’ findings, Bronek Masojada, CEO at Hiscox, said that SMEs “consider and manage a wide variety of local, national and global risks everyday while keeping faith in their values and ambitions. We hope that the insights in our study will help all those supporting SMEs make their essential contribution to economic recovery.”