1 in 4 Says Money is the Biggest Hurdle to Running a Business [Survey]

Last updated: February 13, 2019 | By Alyssa Miles

Running a business is no easy task.

Between staying profitable, keeping your customers happy and finding time to check off your to-dos, the list of challenges grows as your business does. Every business and entrepreneur is unique, yet there’s a commonality in the everyday stresses of running a business. If you’ve wondered whether other business owners face similar hurdles, you’re not alone.

That’s why we conducted a survey to uncover Americans’ true thoughts on the topic, asking participants to reveal their biggest hurdle to running a business.

Key Findings

  • 1 in 4 Americans considers funding to be the biggest obstacle.
  • More women say not knowing how to run a business is a challenge than men.
  • Millennials ages 25 to 34 are the most afraid of failure.
  • 1 in 3 Americans lacks a strong business idea to begin with.

25% of Americans Say Money is the Biggest Hurdle to Running a Business

Starting and running a business is costly. Small business owners agreed. When asked what the biggest hurdle to running their business was, 1 in 4 Americans reported money as an obstacle.

While there was no major split between men and women, we did find an interesting result: Gen Xers felt the strongest about this answer. Of the 25 percent of Americans who reported funds as their biggest hurdle, the largest response came from business owners between the ages of 45 to 54.

Solution: Consider reaching out to your inner circle for support. According to the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report, 82 percent of new business funding comes from personal, family or friend sources.

Get creative and consider other means of funding if this solution doesn’t work for you. Apply for a small business funding grant from the government, seek out an independent investor or kick-start a crowdfunding campaign to collect small amounts of money from thousands of people.

More Women Report Not Knowing How to Run a Business as a Challenge

Running a business doesn’t always come naturally or easily. We found that more women reported a lack of knowledge on how to run a business as a challenge. When selecting knowledge as their greatest hurdle, more than half (54 percent) were women.

Solution: Look to local female-owned businesses for inspiration and guidance to learn along the way. There are about seven female entrepreneurs for every 10 male entrepreneurs in the United States and while this number continues to trend upward, the gender disparity is still there. It’s helpful to seek out a support network of like-minded female business owners or entrepreneurs who may be going through similar obstacles.

Millennials Have the Highest Fear of Failure

Of participants who selected “fear of failure” as their greatest obstacle to running a business, 31 percent were millennials ages 25 to 34.

While millennials have launched twice as many businesses at a much younger age than baby boomers and other previous generations, fear of failure is still present.

Solution: Younger generations may have little appetite for risk because of factors like debt obligations, high current or future expenses or insufficient earnings as they start out in business.

Shift this fear of failure and use it as motivation or to empower the process. Seek feedback and read your customer reviews to evaluate what’s working and what’s not to improve. Find a mentor or network of other business owners to go to as a resource if you’re unsure of a big decision.

1 in 3 Americans Lacks a Strong Business Idea

Is there a higher lack of entrepreneurial spirit than we may think? When asked their biggest hurdle, 1 in 3 Americans stated they simply lack a strong business idea. And some may argue that a “good” business idea isn’t enough to succeed in today’s market.

Solution: Has the idea been executed before? If so, do some research. Consider the upfront costs, your edge in the market or if your expertise can overcome the crowded competition.

As a small business owner, you’ll face challenges that are unique to your business and industry. However, our findings show there’s consistency among business owners and common obstacles. Consider our tips on overcoming some of these obstacles and use a network or other business owners for helpful guidance and support.

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Methodology: This study was conducted using Google Surveys. The sample consists of 1,000 completed responses. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. The survey ran during December 2018.

Sources: 2012 GEM USA Report | 2016 BNP Global Report