Small-business owners likely fall into one of three main attitudinal profiles, according to the Enterprise Council on Small Business. “We identified these profiles in an effort to dispel this idea that all small businesses are alike, that all small businesses are in it for the money, that all small businesses are entrepreneurs,” said Stephen Smyth, director-relationship management at the ECSB. “It's just not the case.”
The three profiles are:
These owners are entrepreneurs who are motivated by growth and achievement. Two percent of small-business owners fall into this category, according to the ECSB. “They would be the most like a corporate CEO,” Smyth said. “They're probably educated in business; they're highly aggressive. They're really in it for the thrill of running a business.”
The people in this group represent 24% of small-business owners and tend to be corporate refugees—those who spent some time in business and have decided for various lifestyle reasons to get out of corporate life. “They tend to like to spend time with their families or in pursuit of hobbies or other interests, and the business allows them to do that,” Smyth said.
This is the biggest group (74% of owners) and comprises people such as photographers, cabinetmakers and plumbers. “These folks are really not at all businesspeople,” Smyth said. “The business is secondary; they run a business because they need to to allow them to ply their trade.” —M.E.M.