Small Business Owners Seek Flexibility over Money

A common misconception about entrepreneurs is that they are looking to build an empire, with money serving as their primary motivator. But money may not be the “carrot” driving small business owners forward. In fact, the eighth annual DNA of an Entrepreneur Report from Hiscox, which surveyed over 1,000 business owners, actually found that U.S. entrepreneurs are not driven primarily by their financial success. The report reveals that only 37 percent of U.S. small business owners cite the ‘opportunity to make more money’ as a key reason they wanted to be their own boss.

This begs the question, what are the top benefits entrepreneurs look for when it comes to owning their own business? A handful of responses may sound familiar, with the ability to have flexibility over working hours being the top benefit cited (68 percent). This is closely followed by the feeling of being in greater control of one’s life (61 percent), and the ability to work from home or other locations (57 percent). More than half of respondents (53 percent) cite being generally happier as a benefit of being a small business owner, which points toward a trend we’re seeing in today’s society.

U.S. small business owners have been at the forefront of this shift occurring in the workplace: an emphasis on flexibility. Now, this doesn’t mean that small business owners aren’t putting in long hours, they certainly are, it’s just they want to be able to work from their kitchen or work early mornings and disconnect in the evening.  

Since the Hiscox report shows that small business owners value flexibility and the option to work remotely outside of the office, it’s always helpful to have a few tricks on hand for staying productive:

  • Define your work space: Designate a specific place exclusively for work, especially if you work from home. It’s important to segregate your work space from the rest of your life because blurring lines between work and non-work will only dilute your productivity. This also helps entrepreneurs get the sense that they can “leave” work for the day.
  • Set hours: The perks of working on your own schedule is that you don’t have to work a traditional 9:00-5:00; though, sometimes this can lead to working even longer hours. Try as best you can to follow a structured schedule, so if you’re an early riser and begin working at 7:00, start winding down late afternoon.
  • Communicate: While you may not have constant facetime with your clients and colleagues, make sure you’re easily reachable and responsive whether it’s through e-mail, instant messaging or video calls. You certainly don’t want your employees thinking you’re “out of sight, out of mind.”

It’s clear that small business owners truly value the type of work environment that will set them and their company up for success, even more than the amount of money they’re putting in their pockets. 

About the author

Lou Casale is head of communications at specialist insurer Hiscox USA. As a marketing and communications expert, he has created transformative programs for Fortune 500 corporations, startups, and C-level executives.  He is a recognized thought leader across all facets of communications, from reputation management and media relations to digital and social media.


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