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Most UK workers dream of being their own boss

13 July 2022

New research has found that as many as 85% of UK workers want to start their own business one day and many believe a side hustle is the first step.

A survey of more than 2,000 UK workers and business founders by Oracle NetSuite and The Founding Network has found that 85% of UK workers say they would like to start a business. The findings show that 62% plan to get started in the next two years, while 18% have plans to get a business off the ground this year.

More millennials want to start their own business than those in any other generation, with 40% of would-be entrepreneurs aged 25-34 years old. One in four UK workers say that a side hustle is the first step, while 35% already have a side hustle and 47% are considering embarking on one.

The top three reasons UK workers want to start their own business are:

  • To become their own boss (54%);
  • To gain more control over their lives (44%);
  • To become wealthier (35%).

However, current economic conditions are stalling the plans of some future entrepreneurs, with 31% saying that they don’t want to start a business now due to rising inflation and 23% delaying due to a possible recession.

The survey results also show that 79% of UK business founders admit that starting a business has turned out to be more challenging than they initially expected. Not surprisingly, business owners are concerned about the current economic environment, with rising inflation (88%), a possible recession (83%), geopolitical events (67%) and supply chain disruption (66%) being the top worries.

To address these challenges, founders say they have shifted their 2022 priorities and are focused on improving profitability, increasing revenue and managing costs.

To be successful, 91% of business founders say they have had to develop new skills since starting their own business, including customer relations, marketing and accounting. Cloud technology is also helping founders to grow their businesses - 75% using cloud computing said they grew their business in 2021. The top three benefits of cloud computing are: being able to run their business remotely, connecting data for an accurate view of the business and financial reporting.

"With so many people making the transition from corporate roles to life as an entrepreneur, all 'workers' could be viewed as potential founders," said James Sutcliffe, founder, The Founding Network. "This is more evident than ever before, with the rise of side hustles - a clear sign of both entrepreneurial spirit and growing confidence amongst the younger generations. However, despite the optimism, many founders find that starting a business is more challenging than they expect."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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