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Hiscox TweetChat recap: The 2014 DNA of an Entrepreneur report

September 19, 2014

U.S. Head of Communications, Hunter Hoffmann, shared detailed insight from the 2014 Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report.

Last week, we released the annual Hiscox DNA of an U.S Entrepreneur report. For our third Hiscox TweetChat, Hunter Hoffmann, Head of U.S. Communications shared some detailed insight from the report, alongside the Hiscox Entrepreneur-in-Residence Brian Moran.

See the TweetChat recap below for highlights from the report.

What is the Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report?

  • The Hiscox DNA report surveys 500 U.S. small business owners each year about sentiments on their growth prospects and obstacles to future growth.
  • The survey also gauges the overall business environment within the U.S. over the past year.
  • Each business surveyed has 50 employees or fewer.

Why does Hiscox conduct this study each year?

  • We conduct the DNA of an Entrepreneur study each year because small businesses matter. Their impact on local economies is important.
  • Gauging the health of small businesses and understanding the key issues they face, are vital for policy-makers everywhere.

There were five major findings from the report. Can you share what those findings were?

  • The five major findings are:
    • Optimism & Opportunities for the Year Ahead
    • Obstacles to Growth
    • Small business Stress
    • Social Media Savvy & Cyber Threats
    • Closing the Gender Gap

Let’s discuss the first finding, Optimism & Opportunities for the Year Ahead. What stood out in this finding? 

  • Optimism is holding steady for small businesses. 51% of survey respondents are optimistic about the year ahead.
  • 57% of small businesses saw an increase in new customers in the past year.
  • Only 22% of small businesses created a new product or service in the past year, but 66% plan to launch one in the year ahead.

The second finding is Obstacles to Growth. What’s holding small business owners back from business growth?

  • 43% of small businesses were worried about not attracting new customers and 36% were concerned about passing cost increases on to customers.
  • 65% said finding funding for a new business is difficult, but upwards of 92% didn’t consider crowdfunding as an option.
  • And 66% said the tax system doesn’t biz creation, but Americans spent the least amount of time per week dealing with red tape.

Social Media Savvy and Cyber Threat is the third finding. Why should these be a concern for small businesses?

  • 30% of respondents use social media for customer service and 26% for marketing and public relations. Butnly 38% change passwords to these accounts when staff leave.
  • Additionally, just 33% make staff regularly change their passwords and only 27% send encrypted emails.
  • Even with cyber attack vulnerabilities, only 15% of small businesses have data risk insurance. And protecting your business is essential.

The survey has positive news, one is the fourth finding – a Decrease in Small Business Stress. Why has stress declined?

  • In the 2011 study, 50% of business owners reported an increase in stress. There’s a 9% decline this year with 41% reporting stress.
  • The level of stress among entrepreneurs appears to be leveling off.

In the fifth finding, Closing the Gender Gap, female business owners increased customers by 17%. How did this occur?

  • Last year, male business owners reported five percent more growth than their female counterparts. This year, women narrowed the gap.
  • Along with the 17% uptick in customer growth, there was a five percent revenue increase as compared to 2013.
  • But we also learned that men are twice as likely to sell their business for a profit as compared to women business owners.

What final takeaways does Hiscox want small businesses to learn from the report?

  • Another interesting stat is that Millennials & Baby Boomers have widely different conceptions of what constitutes “work.”
  • An example includes, 72% of Millennials said attending after work networking events as work compared to only 40% of Boomers.

The TweetChat included different perspectives from seasoned and new small business owners. See their notable tweets below.

@Rieva regarding the survey findings about women business owners: What we need to do is teach kids—esp. girls to code. Embrace STEM in elementary thru high school.

@w3consulting: I think non-tech companies still need to remember websites, mobile sites, mobile apps…these help compete for attn!

@brianmoran: I want smallbiz owners to be even more optimistic…but they need to face their fears.

Based on the five major findings from the DNA of an Entrepreneur report, which one can you relate to the most in your small business? Leave a comment below sharing your thoughts.