Some of the most innovative forces in our country are entrepreneurs. Just in 2021, as many as 5.4 million new businesses were filed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, surpassing the record set in 2020 of 4.4 million businesses. Many wonder how so many are willing to put out their shingle amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, but the entrepreneurial spirit continues to be resilient in our economy each year.
While this entrepreneurial activity has continued at a high rate, the reasons that people launch businesses vary quite a bit. From working for themselves to filling a market need, SuretyBonds.com’s 2021 Entrepreneurial Insights Survey asked why entrepreneurs took on the responsibility of starting their own business in this day and age. Three motivations surfaced as the most compelling.
To Fulfill a Need/Gap in the Market
While this comes as no surprise, fulfilling a need or gap in the market was noted as the motive pushing 40% of all surveyed entrepreneurs. It is common for entrepreneurs to feel the need to disrupt the market with a product or service they feel the market is lacking — or even demanding. However, achieving success in an existing industry may be difficult, and many entrepreneurs acknowledge the necessity of reaching out to other business owners who have successfully carved out a niche in a competitive field. Top Notch I.T. owner James Leversha says in hindsight that in starting his business,
“I would have pushed harder at the start instead of just expecting business to come to me. Finding like-minded mentors who have already created success in the same industry. I would have focused on digital assets more, such as SEO for my brand.”
With 71.7% of the entrepreneurs that SuretyBonds.com surveyed stating that other entrepreneurs had been the best resource in overcoming barriers such as attracting customers, Sallie L. Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, confirmed networking as the No. 1 unwritten rule of success in business.
To Share a Great Idea
According to Y. Hefer, Michael Colin Cant, and Johannes A. Wild’s “Starting One’s Own Business: What Motivates Entrepreneurs” study, published in International Business & Economics Research Journal, aspirations to improve the world are a notable reason why entrepreneurs start their business. When great ideas bubble up, many feel the excitement and need to share with the world, believing it will benefit the greater population. As many as 28.9% of all entrepreneurs SuretyBonds.com surveyed stated that their business originated from a light-bulb moment. For some entrepreneurs, a great idea can come from finding your specialty.
“Based off of my personal experience, finding the right niche market for a product that resonates with your interests is perhaps the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs in COVID-19 times. Being a karate enthusiast, it was quite a struggle for me to identify whether this segment actually had any customer base or was it worthless. Add in the struggles of a pandemic, and preparing a viable business plan — it all became very daunting. So struggling entrepreneurs should always do their research before jumping into a new venture,” says Span Chen, founder of The Karate Blog.
While Forbes notes that proper target market research is crucial to making sure your great idea gets seen and heard, entrepreneurs find that having a true passion for their business motivates them to become successful. This was true for Anita Comisky, founder of Amelia Toffee Company LLC.
“I am passionate about our story…I think everyone wants to buy a product that they have a connection to. It is easy to build a relationship and a brand with a compelling storyline.”
To Work for Themselves
Working for themselves was the motive for 26.7% of all SuretyBonds.com’s surveyed entrepreneurs. While this pertains to our specific data, research from Cox Business found that more than half of business owners shared the same motive. Working for yourself delivers the flexibility to make your own schedule. While their actual working hours may increase, entrepreneurs want to be the ones making the important business decisions, determining the direction the business will take, making the calls on product development and marketing, and maintaining oversight of every aspect of the operation (until it grows too large to make that manageable, that is).
“I never liked routines, and I strongly believed that life begins at the end of our comfort zones. This pushed me to enter the business world very early and explore a lot. Also, I knew that the business market is very competitive, and I had to find a new angle in order to stand out from the rest. That’s how the idea for Full Session came to me. We follow simplicity and offer both worlds of quantitative and qualitative while most competitors usually focus on one thing,” says Mohamed Sehwail, founder of Full Session.
It can be attractive to new entrepreneurs to build something big from scratch. When remote work became the norm and impacted certain business types’ productivity, businesses like The Stock Dork saw this as an opportunity for flexible schedules to effectively build their business up and still enjoy everything else life offers:
“So with motivation and encouragement, we explained to them (the employees) time by time how modern companies operate, how to balance work and life, and how you can still learn and grow in the year 2021 without being in a 9-to-5 job.” – Khunshan Ahmad, founder of The Stock Dork.
Will Hatton, founder of The Broke Backpacker, adds to achieve that oft-desired balanced life, it takes ownership to keep going:
“I have always been attracted to the nomadic lifestyle; I am passionate about real adventures, freedom, and entrepreneurship. I have lived rough around the world while seeking the intoxicating levels of freedom that can only be found while traveling the world. Before starting the Broke Backpacker life, I wish I knew that setting up an online business was not just a matter of a few clicks. It takes resilience, creativity, and hard work to find a suitable niche and worthy content.”
Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. But for those considering entrepreneurship, finding their specific motivation keeps running a business from becoming stale and certainly makes for more “ups.” Despite many entrepreneurs starting their businesses for different reasons, they all agree on one thing: They can trust themselves to get where they want to go.