As part of its new Small Business Growth Survey, Bank of the West asked small business owners a great question: What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
The No. 1 suggestion? Make time for your family, which was shared by 62 percent of respondents.
The other top pieces of advice included:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help (58 percent)
- Separate your business finances from your personal finances (57 percent)
- Stay objective; don’t take things personally (55 percent)
- Be a lifelong learner (54 percent)
Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart. About 82 percent of Bank of the West’s respondents said they’ve put everything they have into their company. But 86 percent said that risk has been worth it.
Other findings of note from this year’s survey:
Of those surveyed, 70 percent said their companies were in growth mode, up from 64 percent in 2015.
About 40 percent have a pessimistic outlook for the economy over the next year, compared to 35 percent last year.
Still, 81 percent said they have a positive outlook for their own companies. In fact, 52 percent see “significant expansion” over the next year.
Business owners found much to love about their line of work, including being in charge of their own destiny (94 percent) and being able to make a difference in their community (80 percent).
“Small business owners are the backbone of the American economy, working hard day-in and day-out to realize the benefits of their effort and perseverance, not just for themselves, but also to create a lasting business legacy for their families,” said Michelle Di Gangi, executive vice president of small- and medium-size enterprise banking at Bank of the West.
“Small business ownership isn’t always a financial decision—an even bigger draw is the flexibility and independence to chart your own path and create a business that can be passed on to the next generation. These are benefits that many other career paths simply do not offer.”