Hiscox DNA of an American Entrepreneur 2014

September 08, 2014

Note: To see the most up to date DNA of an Entrepreneur information check out our 2017 DNA of an Entrepreneur Report.

The 2014 Hiscox DNA small business survey highlights the triumphs and challenges of the American entrepreneur.

We’re excited to share the U.S. results from Hiscox’s sixth annual global DNA of an Entrepreneur report.  This year we again surveyed 500 U.S. small business owners and got their sentiments on their growth prospects, obstacles to future growth and the overall business climate over the past year, and looking forward.

Here are some of the highlights of this year’s report:

Small Businesses Biggest Concerns

Small business owners worry about not being able to attract new clients (43%), having to pass cost increases on to customers (36%) and facing rising costs of debt (31%). Another area that continues to keep small business owners up at night is financing. Thirty-one percent of respondents worry about not having the financial resources to keep their businesses going, while 65% reported obtaining financial funding for a new business continues to be difficult. Yet, despite growing awareness, 92% of all small business owners have not considered using crowdfunding.

Taxes and Regulations

The U.S. tax system does not favor someone wanting to set up their own business, according to the majority of U.S. small business owners (66%). In fact, their number one demand from the U.S. government is reduced taxation. However, American small business owners spent the least amount of time dealing with government red tape, at 88 minutes per week, of all the countries surveyed (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, The Netherlands and Spain).

Cyber Vulnerable

Small business owners in the U.S. continue to remain digitally savvy, utilizing social media for communications, PR and marketing (26%), as well as for customer service (30%). Although small business owners are using  social and digital media, they are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks, and most don’t have adequate risk management processes in place. Only 38% of respondents reported that passwords are always changed when an employee leaves the company, and only 33% say they require current staff to change their passwords regularly. Additionally, only 27% say that secure information is sent by encrypted email. Despite these glaring vulnerabilities to cyber threats, only 15% of small business owners reported having cyber risk insurance.

What Constitutes Work

The majority of small business owners (53%) reported working less than 40 hours per week. However, millennials and baby boomers showed widely different conceptions of what constitutes “work.” While 72% of millennial small business owners under 30 years old believe attending networking events after business hours is work, 40% of those over 60 years old disagree, seeing this as part of their career development. While millennials are known for always being connected online, 80% of those under 30 believe reading emails after hours is work, as compared to only 45% of those over 60.

Hiscox DNA of an American Entrepreneur 2014

We hope you enjoy this year’s report and look forward to your questions and comments.  Do these results match up with your experiences as a small business? Leave your feedback in the comments section below. To see results from the previous year's eDNA survey, visit the Hiscox small business blog.