Business survey finds independent-minded Kiwis striking out on their own out of a desire to be their own boss

Business survey finds independent-minded Kiwis striking out on their own out of a desire to be their own boss

By Amanda Morrall

Never mind being boss for the day, independent-minded New Zealanders who go into business for themselves desire top dog status 24/7.

Small business owners from across the country, in a survey by American Express, rate autonomy as the most compelling reason to break out on their own, above even passion or work/life balance.

"Independence plays a significant role in the decision to open a business,'' said American Express's Peter Newton, noting that 45% of those small business owners surveyed put it as their No.1 motivator.

The ambition for being the boss was most strident among Wellingtonians.

Close to one third of small business owners in the capital became entrepreneurs for the express purpose of being in charge. That compares to the national average of 25%.

Wellingtonians rated their independence as being three times more important than making money.  Time was another sacrifice they appear prepared to accept.

The survey found that entrepreneurs in the region were willing to forego longer holidays as part and parcel of being the boss, with 32% taking a maximum of seven days leave in the last year.

Auckland-based entrepreneurs, while they enjoy longer holidays, make up for it with longer working hours.

The survey found that 56% of Auckland small business owners worked a minimum 40-hour work week, compared to the national average of 48%.

The desire for better work-life balance was the main driver for Auckland's small business owners who also report the highest satisfaction levels on that front at 66%.

Cantabrians meanwhile stood out as passion-driven entrepreneurs. Their enthusiasm for their businesses was among the strongest nation-wide.

Newton said it was a sentiment that would serve the region, and its businesses well, going forward post-quake.

"Loving what you do can get you through the tough times and this is sure to stand Canterbury business operators in good stead during the rebuild of Christchurch.''

Overall, small business owners across the country are feeling upbeat.

Eight-five per cent said they anticipated profits increasing or staying the same through the year and with employment levels improving or else remaining unchanged.

Cantabrians are more optimistic than most.

"With the Canterbury economy making steady positive progress, nearly one-third expected to increase revenues as the city rebuilds, more than double the expectations of small business owners nationally,'' said Newton.

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"With the Canterbury economy making steady positive progress, nearly one-third expected to increase revenues as the city rebuilds, more than double the expectations of small business owners nationally,'' said Newton.

So Christchurch = Canterbury?