Survey reveals "lifestyle entrepreneur" trend is on the rise as 56 per cent of small business owners under the age of 45 say they eat, sleep and breathe their business
TORONTO, May 4, 2015 /CNW/ - Small business owners in Canada are taking a new approach to work-life balance, according to a recent survey by American Express Canada. With longer hours and a shift to constant connectivity, small business owners (SBOs) are redefining the balance and tipping the scales in their favour to reclaim control of their entrepreneurial lifestyle.
The American Express Small Business Monitor reveals SBOs aren't solely motivated by the conventional benefits of running a business. While the pursuit of profit is still a key motivator, SBOs' priorities are shifting more towards flexibility and the advantages of being your own boss. Nearly three quarters (74%) of small business owners agree independence is a top benefit and 50 per cent appreciate the decision-making power and creative freedom afforded to them as entrepreneurs. With this, it's clear that SBOs recognize the nature of work is changing as the boundaries between work and personal life begin to disappear.
The rise of 'lifestyle entrepreneurs'
A new generation of SBOs are embracing 'lifestyle entrepreneurship' by creating businesses that fit within their personal lives, and as they seek to harmonize their work and personal lives they're simultaneously redefining SBO lifestyle norms. While nearly all (96%) of SBOs state work-life balance is important, over half (55%) say their work and personal lives blur because their business is their passion. This trend of work-life integration is especially common among younger SBOs, as 56 per cent of those under the age of 45 say they eat, sleep and breathe their business.
"This new wave of Canadian SBOs sees their business as an extension of their life. Being in control both inside and outside of work allows them complete autonomy to spend their time as they see fit," says Tim Elgar, Director Small Business Services, American Express Canada. "SBOs are building businesses that fit within their lifestyle, often depending on technology to bridge the gap."
In an age of constant connectivity, 64 per cent of SBOs believe technology makes it nearly impossible to disconnect from work, and almost half (41%) of SBOs say they check their email or phone over 20 times a day. Yet, even though they admit to being online constantly, an overwhelming 75 per cent of SBOs don't necessarily believe it stands in the way of achieving work-life balance.
SBOs are maximizing entrepreneurship
SBOs are becoming increasingly savvy on how to get the most out of their entrepreneurial lifestyle as a solid 67 per cent agree they have a thorough understanding of how to maximize the benefits. In fact, it's clear SBOs understand how to make business expenses work for them as 89 per cent say they take advantage of credit cards that reward them for spending.
While almost half (48%) say they feel married to their business, when asked how they'd spend extra leisure time, the majority (85%) say they plan to travel more. In fact, 88 per cent of SBOs say they appreciate travel rewards most.
Business growth is top priority for SBOs
Expansion and business growth remains a key focus for small business owners as 38 per cent say it's their company's single most important priority over the next six months, up 4 points since last quarter (34%) and up 5 points since March 2014 (33%).
"Well into 2015, business owners are demonstrating a renewed focus on growing their business," says Elgar. "With a strong 2014 behind them, they're driving full speed ahead looking to leave their mark this year."
The majority (85%) of SBOs are confident about business prospects over the next six months, down 3 points from last quarter (88%) and up 1 point since March 2014 (84%). An impressive 86 per cent of SBOs are also willing to take risks for their business in the next six months, up 2 points from last quarter (84%), and no change since March 2014 (86%).
About the American Express Small Business Monitor
From March 10 and March 17, 2015 Northstar Research Partners conducted an online survey on behalf of American Express Small Business Services with a sample of 776 Canadian small business owners each employing between 1 and 99 people. The margin of error for the total sample is ±3.5%, 19 times out of 20. In order to ensure the results are representative of the entire population of small business owners in Canada, the data have been statistically weighted for small business by region according to Statistics Canada. Respondents were located across Canada and came from a variety of industries, including health, social services, education, tech, sales and skilled trades. Due to rounding, some results may add to over 100 per cent.
About American Express Small Business Services
American Express Small Business Services (SBS) is dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. SBS supports business owners with exceptional service. We offer tailored products and services that deliver purchasing power, flexibility, cash flow management and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owners can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded line-up of partners. To obtain more information about SBS, visit www.amexforbusiness.ca or www.facebook.com/AmexforBusiness.
SOURCE American Express
For further information: or a full copy of the report, please contact: Christina Peck, (416) 644-2295, [email protected]