In association with American Express.
The latest American Express® Small Business Barometer* has revealed an optimistic outlook for many of these small enterprises, with the majority (75 per cent) of firms surveyed stating that they are either hitting or beating their growth targets. Importantly, rather than being seen as a temporary uplift, small businesses reported that they expect growth to continue to accelerate.
Despite this buoyant backdrop it’s still rare to hear anyone claim that starting or running your own business is easy or that it’s without obstacles and sacrifices. What is it then that has inspired so many people to leave employment to set up their own business, or begin a career with entrepreneurship straight from school or university?
Encouragingly, just under half (45 per cent) of those small businesses surveyed by American Express said that owning their own business had proved to be more rewarding than they had originally thought at the outset.
We spoke to several entrepreneurs about what makes running their own business worthwhile. We asked “Is it all work and no play – or does all that hard work pay off?” Are business owners reaping the lifestyle rewards and living the dream?
Choosing your hours
For Lynn and Colin Offord, the founders of Lynns Travel in Eastbourne, one of the greatest perks of running their day excursions and short break coach holiday business is flexibility. For the Offords, running their business is not about making as much money as possible, rather more about allowing them to live comfortably and to achieve a work/life balance. They’ve been able to create a family-style operation that fits in with their lifestyles. They also benefit from living above the business premises, so they are well placed to organise their work plans to suit social commitments. As the business is well established they now spend a third of the year at their house on the Isle of Wight, where they plan to gradually increase their time as they near retirement.
Making the decisions
Entrepreneur Moji Rezvani, who owns Scorpion Shoes, selling fashion footwear in store and online, loves being the decision-maker. He described business building as “the best university” for all the on-job learning he has accumulated over the years. He also feels that being the boss means there’s no limits on what he can achieve. “There are tough times, but these are outweighed by the self-satisfaction of seeing the company grow,” he explained.
Financial perks of the job
Aside from the obvious ability to set your own salary, savvy entrepreneurs also find they can reap rewards from the spending power of their business.
For example, perks and incentives can build up quickly if you’re smart about how you pay for goods and service such as raw materials, retail products or technology hardware. As Lynn Offord found out – using her American Express Small Business Card for business operation and running costs earned her enough membership reward points (1) to take the whole family on a return trip to Australia.
Roked Filling Stations in Salford is operated by brother and sister team Mubarak and Farhana Roked. Originally inspired by their father who ran a garage, the duo have plans to expand the number of petrol filling stations and accompanying retail outlets they have. As an American Express Cardmember, Mubarak is familiar with the range of options for using his Membership Reward points – everything from covering the cost of office technology to department store gift cards, as well as frequent flyer miles for holidays or business trips. “I use them to treat my family – one of the benefits of running your own business,” he explained.
Stacey Sterbenz, from the Small Business Services team at American Express, commented: “Whether it’s using reward points to boost everyday spending or treating themselves to trips abroad, our Cardmembers tell us they value getting something back on their spending and are using their charge cards to make running a business even more rewarding.”
Of course, the benefits of business ownership are not only financial or material as our example entrepreneurs have clearly demonstrated. And we know from our research that their experiences reflect those of today’s enterprise leaders at large. The small business owners surveyed by American Express named the three most rewarding aspects of running their own company as becoming a master of their own destiny, seeing their own ideas come to life and making better work/life balance a reality. From that standpoint, deciding to build your own empire can be a win-win situation for many.
To find out more about how American Express Business Cards could make your business spend more rewarding visit the American Express Website.
* The American Express Small Business Barometer was commissioned by American Express and conducted by market researcher Coleman Parkes in summer 2015. The research polled 500 decision makers in businesses with under 50 employees in the UK.
Terms and conditions:(1) Membership Rewards points are earned on virtually every full £1 spent and charged, per transaction. Membership Rewards points are not earned on interest, fees (including default fees), balance transfers, cash advances (including transactions treated as cash), loading of pre paid Cards, American Express Travellers Cheque purchases or foreign exchange transactions; and any amounts that are subsequently re-credited to your Card Account by way of refunds. Visit membershiprewards.co.uk/terms for full Membership Rewards Terms and Conditions.
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