A few years ago we did a small study as we wanted to know how new start up entrepreneurs see their future as entrepreneurs. We posed them several questions about their motivation to learn what had been the main reasons to become entrepreneurs. We also wanted to know how they see their main success factors. What is their main goal? Do they see the business mainly as a means of employing themselves or do they aim to grow the company and employ other people too? Or is it about making a dream come true?
One of the key questions in the study was this: Do the new entrepreneurs have a long-term plan for entrepreneurship or is it just a short-term activity for them? We asked 102 new start up entrepreneurs to answer the following question: How long do you think you will continue this new start up business activity?
The group to whom we posed the question consisted of 44 women and 58 men. All of them had started their business less than one year before.
The answers revealed that a clear majority (64%) of the new start up entrepreneurs were thinking that they will continue their business for more than 10 years. A fifth of the group (20%) answered that their business cycle will be somewhere between 6 and 10 years. This means that 84% of all the people who answered the question have a long-term commitment to entrepreneurship and see it as their future profession for at least more than five years.
However, there was a considerable difference to be noticed when we compared the answers of men and women. 20% of the women answered that they anticipated continuing the new start up activity for only 5 years or less. Only 8% of the men belong to this category. The difference can also be seen in the long-term category, as only 48% of the women planned to be entrepreneurs or more than ten years, compared to 74% of the men.
Our study did not go deep enough to provide data to analyse the topic more closely, but I wonder if the reason is something as obvious as this: many women have a bigger responsibility of family and kids than men, especially when the children in the family are young.
I have been a business trainer for more than 25 years. I understand that some people see entrepreneurship only as a short-term decision, and their future orientation might be something else. Still, I always like to say this to the people who are thinking about starting a new business: the chances of succeeding can be considerably better if you see entrepreneurship as a long-term career choice and make a long-term plan for you business. If you start a business, you should always approach it with full dedication and commitment from the first day you start your business.
Mr. Jouni Suonpää
The Founder and Chairman of NEBA (North European Business Academy)