With more than five million private sector businesses in the UK (according to House of Commons Library) and the rapid growth of digital opportunities to advertise and promote brands, it seems easier than ever to launch your own business.

Although there are stresses involved with running your own company, there are also a wealth of advantages. To discover exactly what British business owners love about running their own company, we’ve teamed up with Cottages in Northumberland, a holiday lettings agency providing cottages in Beadnell, which has surveyed business owners across England and Scotland.

What do business owners like the most about their role?

  • Being the boss: 76%
  • Flexible hours: 64%
  • Having the final word: 40%
  • Selecting staff and putting a team together: 25%
  • Salary benefits: 16%
  • Business travel: 9%
  • Other: 6%

*Respondents could select more than one answer.

Top reasons by: gender

After splitting the above results into gender, we discover that — generally — men and women agree on the best parts of owning a business. 76% of both men and women said that being your own boss was the part of business-owning they loved the most, while coming in at a close second was the flexible working hours (65% men and 61% women).

However, where the sexes appear to differ is with regard to getting the final say on company processes and decisions. Men seem to value having the last word much more highly than women, with having the final say being a major attribute for 49% of men but only 27% of women. However, leadership is clearly important to both genders, as putting a team together appealed to 25% of men and 24% of women.

At the lower end of the business-owning perks scale, we see further agreements between genders. Only 16% of men said that they loved the salary benefits, while an even lower 10% claimed to value business travel. Similarly, salary and travel achieved only 17% and 7% among the females surveyed.

Top reasons by: location

The only division of respondents that showed a first-place dispute was when we divided the respondents into nationality (English and Scottish). English business owners said that being your own boss was the aspect of running a company they liked the most (76%), while flexible working hours claimed the winning spot among Scottish survey-takers by quite a difference (89%). In fact, these two factors swapped places in the England and Scotland lists, with flexible hours taking second place in England (64%) and being your own boss claiming the silver medal in Scotland (67%).

Conversely, when it comes to selecting staff, English and Scottish business owners felt the same (25% in England and 22% in Scotland). However, getting the last word in appears more important for Scottish entrepreneurs than English (56% and 42%, respectively), while business travel trailed in low on both lists (9% in England and 11% in Scotland).

Top reasons by: age

There are no age restrictions on entrepreneurship — so does how old we are affect how we feel about owning our own business? To find out, we then segmented the respondents into age brackets: 18-24-year olds, 25-34-year olds and 35-44-year olds. Similar to the gender-based results, being your own boss came out on top for all ages — although a huge 99% said it was their favourite part of owning a business in the 18-24 category!

Oddly, the 18-24-year-old age brackets cared little for the idea that they could pick their own staff, with only 8% saying it’s what they loved about entrepreneurship compared to 30% of 25-34-year olds, and 15% of 35-44-year olds. Each age group was in agreement that flexible working hours was their second-favourite thing about running their own business. However, the 18-24-year old business owners were clearly more enamoured with flexibility than the rest — 85% said they loved it the most while only 63% of 25-34-year olds and 43% of 35-44-year olds agreed.

So, what about the idea of being in charge and having the final say on important decisions? Interestingly, this seems less important the older you are. 36% of 35-44-year olds said getting to set the rules was the factor of running a business that they liked the most, while 41% of 25-34-year olds  agreed and 46% of 18-24-year olds said the same. Also, when it comes to money, it’s clear that youth values financial gain more than their older survey-takers, with 23% of 18-24-year olds considering it their most-loved part of business-owning compared to 16% and 14% of 25-34-year olds and 35-44-year olds, respectively.

Clearly, launching your own business has a variety of perks that shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re thinking about a lifestyle change and career move.

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