Alterpreneurs shun 'enterprise culture' for kicks

A new breed of entrepreneurs whose main objectives are to keep their business small and enjoy life are shedding the ‘enterprise culture’ tag thrust upon them by Government initiatives.

Far from being the next Richard Branson, the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs simply want “an alternative to the nine to five of a traditional job” that lets them “retain control over their lives.”

These are the ‘alterpreneurs’ – self employed people that “work to live” so they can obtain “freedom from the corporate treadmill and the chance to build their own lifestyle.”

In a survey of more than 1,000 microbusinesses, research by More Than, the insurance company, exposed UK entrepreneurs as a “large and much misunderstood section of the business community.”

They said this is because the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs, employing less than four people, were motivated to start-up their business not by finance, but by lifestyle factors, such as being your own boss and happiness.

Just 23 per cent cited financial factors, 2 per cent less than those saying ‘going it alone’ allowed them to be closer to friends and family.

In contrast to the government dialogue championing Britain’s enterprise culture, only 3 per cent said they started-up to become the next Richard Branson.

This trend is supported by the 70 per cent of entrepreneurs vowing to keep their business the same size in the future, saying they were comfortable with being considered a small business.

When it comes to making decisions about their venture, 85 per cent of those questioned said quality of life is a more important factor than money.

Despite this, the modern-day entrepreneur clearly understands the importance of monetary expertise, given the fact that accountants and bank managers are the most consulted experts when the self-employed need advice.

The enterprise report, entitled Health, Wealth and Happiness, also found that small businesses are least likely to turn to government bodies for help when compared to family, friends, peers and even business competitors.

Most of these firms believe the government should be doing more to support them staying small – compared to the 12 per cent saying enough help is provided.

According to the research, the new breed of alterpreneur is well qualified; lives in London or the South East, derives from a corporate background and is in a long-term stable relationship.

Most of these self-employed people work in the retail sector, are expecting to work beyond their 65th birthday and believe their health will improve in the long-term as a direct result of their decision to go it alone.

In a final blow to the oft-championed enterprise culture of the UK, nearly 60 per cent of alterpreneurs would not take on extra stress even if it meant earning more money.


17th May 2005

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