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Home > News > May 2004 > 24-May-2004

98% of entrepreneurs start-up without any business training

First time entrepreneurs are continuing to make the same mistakes and begin in business with little or no adequate training or planning, according to research commissioned on behalf of learndirectbusiness.

In the study, entrepreneurs were questioned on their views on a range of subjects linked to the risks involved in starting up a business venture.

Perhaps most surprising was the price entrepreneurs were willing to pay in pursuit of their business dream:

  • 11% said they would risk their relationship with their partner
  • 26% were prepared to get into heavy debt
  • 30% were willing to risk losing all their savings
  • A small number, 4%, were even willing to pay the ultimate price and risk their health

Insufficient planning obviously increases the chances of a business failing and is identified as a key issue amongst UK entrepreneurs:

25% of respondents felt they were unprepared before they started their own business with a further 8% suggesting they were ‘very unprepared’ before opening the doors for trading.

With such a large number realising they were unprepared it is perhaps no surprise that 42% of all respondents gave ‘fear of job insecurity’ as the biggest barrier to starting a business in the first place.

With just under 380,000 businesses closing in 2003 alone, the research revealed a worrying statistic. 98% of respondents had never undertaken any business training before starting up in business.

Despite the stress and risks involved, being a successful entrepreneur still has numerous benefits:

75% of respondents suggesting that being your own boss is the number one reason for running your own business. Followed by 17% enjoying the greater work-life balance it gave… and lastly 7% of respondents citing the share of the profits it gave them.

learndirectbusiness spokeswoman Sarah Turpin, head of workforce development and policy, urged entrepreneurs not to ‘Risk It All’, but rather invest in business training early on: "The research findings demonstrate that this country’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. Unfortunately what it also demonstrates is the unnecessary risks those entrepreneurs are still willing to take. The relatively small costs involved with undertaking business training could prove to be critical in saving a business in the long run. We must continue to emphasise the importance of education and training to build a long term sustainable business."

75% of respondents, currently running their own businesses, now realise the importance of training and agreed with the statement that they would be interested in attending first time or refresher courses. Also the importance of training in hindsight is not lost on existing entrepreneurs, with 91% now agreeing they could improve their business through education and training.

Turpin continued, "Through government initiatives such as learndirectbusiness, business training is now easily accessible, through our Premier Business Centres and/or over the internet. We continue to ensure our courses are really relevant to the entrepreneur, giving practical training and education in areas such as financial planning, IT, compliance issues and sales and marketing. We recognise that any form of training must meet the needs of business"

According to learndirectbusiness, the research demonstrates the lack of importance new entrepreneurs give to business training and education and may go someway to explaining why so many new businesses struggle to get off the ground.

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