In its annual survey of high net worth business owners (www.ustrust.com/survey), U.S. Trust found that business ownership can be challenging, but most entrepreneurs wouldn’t consider any other line of work and have personally invested themselves and their families in their businesses. While there are distinct differences between younger and older owners, entrepreneurs of all ages share a strong desire to control their own destiny.
The study of 242 high net worth business owners with at least $3 million in investable assets, part of the 2016 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth survey, found what worries entrepreneurs most is what they don’t have control of: the unknown impact of the 2016 presidential election and a breach in cybersecurity, both of which could have significant implications for their business and personal financial interests.
The majority (95%) of business owners surveyed founded or acquired their companies. While few inherited their business, 70% of business owners say their upbringing was very influential in their success, and family plays a central role in business ownership.
Forty-two percent of business owners have a family member involved in their business in some capacity, such as a senior manager or employee. Involvement of family members can both complicate decision making, as well as be a competitive advantage. Many business owners have used their own or family savings to finance their business; however, they have also raised money from venture capitalists and private equity firms, in addition to bank financing to support business expansion.
“Entrepreneurs tend to think of their business as an extension of themselves and their family, often their greatest source of motivation and strength so characteristic of successful owners,” said Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust. “The hard work and sacrifices needed to create and build a business make being an entrepreneur very much a family affair.”
Seventy-four percent of entrepreneurs agree that owning a business is harder than working for someone else; however, business owners don’t regret their career choice. Three in five say that given an option in an ideal world, they would choose to own a business. One in three surveyed business owners previously owned at least one other company.
There are many benefits to business ownership. Eighty-three percent of people say that owning a business can make you wealthier than working for someone else. However, that doesn’t appear to be a business owner’s primary motivation. Their top reasons are to control their own destiny, pursue their passion or because they simply evolved into ownership.