New research reveals that the average age that Brits decide to set up their own business is 27.
Analysis by cloud accounting software company Xero has found that entrepreneurial spirit is getting younger, with 69% of new businesses set up in the past five years having been started by those aged 18-34.
Within that group, the average age that would-be entrepreneurs decide to go it alone is 20. Those aged over 45 who now run their own business typically had their own lightbulb moment at 35.
The survey of 1,000 small business owners also found that eight out of ten start-ups begin life with friends or relatives of the founder being roped in to help out.
Small business owners said making the right hires (32%), the inability to switch off (29%) and late payments (29%) are their biggest barriers to success. The ability to be adaptable (31%), putting accounting support in place from day one (23%) and networking with inspiring people and peers (22%) are the three pieces of advice small business owners wish they'd been given when they started out.
The findings also show that today's small business owners put a priority on work/life balance - eight in ten say they "work to live" rather than "live to work". In addition, 82% of small business owners say they are now running the business they always dreamed of and nine in ten say setting up shop is one of the accomplishments they are most proud of.
Respondents said being their own boss is the best thing about owning a business (51%), followed by being able to control work/life balance (38%) and being able to get things done the way they want (35%).
However, in a world where only four in ten businesses reach their fifth birthday, the research found that a fifth of start-ups launch without a proper business plan. A previous report from Xero found that just 14% of failed SMEs used software to manage their finances compared to 58% of successful business owners, while 20% of failed small firms invested in marketing compared to 49% of those who have succeeded.
Gary Turner, md and co-founder of Xero, said: "Small business owners don't always have an easy run of it. But, despite this, every day I see just how passionate and eager they are to turn their dreams into realities. While this passion is fantastic, it will only get you so far. We know that survival rates of small businesses with watertight business plans and the right processes are far greater than those who fail to put the right provisions in place - so it would be a huge shame to see this enthusiasm go to waste."