For all of the small business challenges entrepreneurs face, a new survey reveals most are happy in their role.
The Summer 2012 Small Business Report, conducted by Wave Accounting found that 86 percent of small business owners say they "love" what they do for a living. Additionally, 82 percent said the rewards far outweigh the challenges and 56 percent reported they will "never" work for someone else again.
However, the online survey of nearly 1,400 North American entrepreneurs found that not everything is perfect. Half of the respondents said that being the boss is harder than expected.
As for why they decided to start their own firm, the most common answer - given by 57 percent of those surveyed - was they wanted to be the boss and decision-maker. Other reasons included having an entrepreneurial spirit, wanting more flexibility and time for their families as well as the ability to make more money. Only 15 percent said they started their small business because they were unemployed.
The most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs, according to the poll, are time management and perfecting the work/life balance, with two thirds (66 percent) of business owners struggling in one or both of these arenas. Many cite little down time as a problem. In fact, 43 percent said they resort to administrative tasks such as accounting and bookkeeping outside of traditional business hours. One in five also spends at least part of the weekend working on the same tasks.
While only 23 percent said they were dissatisfied with their business' performance in the past year, more than three quarters said their businesses at least met (37 percent) if not exceeded (40 percent) their expectations given the economic climate.
Still, most say that they are optimistic about the future - with four out of five seeing a bright future for their business. And, 66 percent of owners consider their businesses to be in a growth phase. In fact, nearly three quarters (73 percent) said they plan to expand their product offerings or initiating new marketing campaigns in the year to come.
As for the differences between small business performance in the U.S. and Canada, the survey found that the economy was more likely to affect American businesses (34 percent) versus Canadian firms (21 percent).
Regardless, among U.S. respondents, 47 percent strongly agree that they see a bright future for their companies. Canadians are a bit more muted, with 38 percent feeling optimistic about the future. At the same time, 43 percent of Americans think the next 12 months will be harder for small businesses in general, while only 34 percent of Canadians felt that way.