I was thrilled when I saw the January issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. There was a teaser in the cover copy that surveyed the entrepreneurs and their answers inside. Finally, I am sure someone is focusing on entrepreneurs striving for a successful business. Time to hear from us, little boys!
I can’t tell you how impressed I was when I started reading the article. My idea of an “entrepreneur” and their idea is as different as night and day. I’ve always classified an entrepreneur as a “mom-and-pop” coffee shop in the corner, a family-owned produce market, or a “gizmo” for 18- to 24-year-olds. Corporation as their latest talent. Let me quote the article that will educate you on its idea of ”entrepreneur”.
To clarify the methodology used in the survey, “Entrepreneurship Journal and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Entrepreneurship Challenge Survey” is an annual telephone survey. They average 185 employees with $ 31.5 million in annual revenues, and an annual growth rate of more than 23 percent …… ”
It’s definitely not my picture of an entrepreneur. I don’t know many entrepreneurs who make $ 31.5 million annually or 185 people. To me, it is a very successful company on its journey to becoming a corporation. We all need to be such entrepreneurs!
Nevertheless, I must say that the information is worth reading over and over. The business of doing business applies to those of us who are not yet making $ 31.5 million a year. Here’s what the survey found.
What were their biggest challenges for 2006?
• 73% – Retention of key employees
% 38% – Developing new products / services
• 36% – Expansion to the Local Market
• 35% – Increase tivity productivity
• 28% – Technology improvement
• 23% – Establish business alliances
% 21% – Managing Cash Flow Better
% 14% – Extension outside the United States.
% 13% – Improving Risk Management
% 11% – Finding New Financing
% 11% – Buying or rotating another company
• 7% – Preparing the company for sale
% 2% – Going public
When you stop and think about it now, that’s what most entrepreneurs think every year. To keep your business on the road to growth, not just expanding or rotating to foreign markets – everything else is considered.
The next section of the survey was interesting because in 2006, entrepreneurs were given a list of some of the “wild card” factors that affect business. When asked which three are most detrimental to their business, here is what they said:
• 47% – Unstable US economy
• 43% – Increase in health care costs
• 41% – shortage of qualified employees
% 40% – Poor market demand
• 24% – rising oil / energy costs
% 24% – Increase in interest rates
• 22% – Government new regulations
% 18% – Weak capital expenditures
• 14% – weakening the world economy
• 12% – Increase global competitiveness
• 11% – Lack of access to capital
% 10% – Sudden drop in the US real estate market
• 10% – increase in taxes
• 9% – Inflation
So maybe my entrepreneurs and the people I surveyed are not really that different in thought. Most entrepreneurs’ outlook is probably optimistic, or if there are no more unexpected disasters.
Even in the aftermath of the 9/11 catastrophe, within two quarters we returned to the same level of optimism as before. People are accustomed to dealing with difficult situations and giving evidence to them, but they are not lost. When you really think about it; Most entrepreneurs are the same, aren’t they?
If they are not, then they are not, as I think, entrepreneurs.