As a side effect to the financial crisis, entrepreneurs today are a different breed to those found prior to 2008. No, I’m not talking about how tech-savvy start-ups now use technology. The recently coined expression “accidental entrepreneur” describes how the recession has ravaged normal behavioural patterns. In fact, according to a study commissioned by Symantec in 2012, the recession has changed startup entrepreneurs themselves.
Through years of financial turmoil, many Britons found themselves ill-prepared and on a one-way road to ruin. Out of necessity, rather than a life-long dream, people have started coming up with their own unique ideas for start-ups in the hope of raking in some extra cash. According to the report, these values are the essence of the accidental entrepreneur – unlike other entrepreneurs, they never thought of striking out on their own until they were forced into business by financial necessity.
The argument is that although new SMEs are the key to business growth, they are no longer fueled by passion, but the idea of profits. The findings concluded that 54 per cent of SMEs founded in the recession see themselves as growth businesses rather than lifestyle businesses. Is this bad news for business? As we encourage the idea of focussing on the consumer, we contradict our own advice by trying to lure employees with incentives or rewards for a job well done. The promise of money is a powerful weapon as most people find themselves in some form of financial situation.
However, SMEs post-2008 also expect to double their employees in the next two years and expect revenue to grow by more than ten per cent. It’s no wonder they are so self-confident, after all, they had to churn cream into butter to stay afloat in the frail economy of today. It’s plausible to say that recession-born businesses and entrepreneurs take more risks, and are better prepared for economical ups and downs.
Through hard work, long-term planning and the struggle for funds, the accidental entrepreneur has possibly gone through all the challenges a long-established business would face, but in a significantly shorter period of time.
Accidental entrepreneurs are reshaping their markets, while growing significantly faster than the less confident. It seems that the recession has left a solution in its wake, through the form of more self-sufficient entrepreneurs to lead us out of austerity.By Shané Schutte
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