Bad bosses key motivation to starting a business

Entrepreneurs cite horrible bosses, getting fired, and seizing golden opportunities as reasons they strike out on their own

New research from the 2019 Canadian Entrepreneur Report says the most common motivations for starting a business were working for a horrible boss, getting fired, seizing the day on a perceived opportunity in the marketplace, or trying to fix a product/ service/situation that seemed to be broken.

The report, by Echelon Wealth Partners, interviewed 38 CEOs and founder who have been in business an average of 12 years and employ about 6,000 people. Their companies have a minimum annual revenue of $10 million and they’ve experienced an average annual growth rate of 32 per cent.

My number one takeaway is that across all industries and throughout the country there are incredibly hard-working people who are striving to improve the way we do business,” said Barbara Stewart, global researcher and author of the report. “It’s no longer enough to turn a profit; entrepreneurs are increasingly demonstrating that qualitative factors, like credibility and sustainability, are intrinsic to their success.”

Here are some of the key findings from the report:

  • One-third founded their business with a friend, former mentor, or former colleague;
  • 50 per cent+, have a bachelor’s degree or higher;
  • One-third have a post graduate degree;
  • 84 per cent of all entrepreneurs started work in their childhood or early teens;
  • 89 per cent were raised in Canada;
  • 41 per cent mentioned international travel as being important to their developing a feeling of self confidence; and
  • 60 per cent worked previously in a corporate and/ or professional career before becoming an entrepreneur.

“All CEOs experienced tough times while building their business. Some identified serious challenges such as: manufacturing a string of bad products, filing for bankruptcy, losing a client that represented a significant portion (or all) of their business, a serious decline in an industry (e.g. print), making the mistake of relying on one source of funding, and hiring the wrong people and having to fire 50 per cent of the company,” said the report.

“Growth capital is an ongoing challenge and some companies don’t have the familiarity or experience raising private capital so they opted to go public to raise money. Some entrepreneurs feel that Canada needs to tap into as many sources of capital as possible, and that this should be streamlined. In 2019 customers are highly focused on what they are putting into their bodies and how they are affecting the health of the world with their actions. It’s all about social consciousness, environmental consciousness, and wellness. We are seeing a big eco push (from recyclable cups and spoons at an ice cream store to ecofriendly thermostats). 35 per cent specifically mentioned being conscious of environmental health and/or sustainability and embedding this in their business focus.”

Mario Toneguzzi is a business reporter in Calgary.

© Calgary’s Business


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