Small business owners and entrepreneurs continually have to adapt to change, both in their own ventures and to external challenges, and often on their own with limited guidance.
This includes adapting to our vastly changing technology and societal landscape — dealing with everything from the rise of automation, the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) and robots to eliminate jobs, political turbulence, and even concerns about what the future of work might look like for them.
Despite these concerns, entrepreneurs are optimistic about business growth, the power of technology, and their contributions to local communities, according to findings from the GoDaddy Global Entrepreneurship Survey, which was announced today.
The study surveyed 4,505 small businesses in 10 global markets: the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The entrepreneur survey size in the United States was 500 small business owners with 25 or fewer workers, many of whom were single operators or entrepreneurs with just a couple of employees.
Entrepreneurs take advantage of new technologies for growth
Our survey found that 70% of U.S. entrepreneurs expect to grow at least 25% in the next three to five years.
Looking at the results across generations, millennials are the most confident.
They are nearly two times as likely than baby boomers to expect 50% business growth over the next three to five years.
Websites fuel confidence in business growth
Of note, entrepreneurs with a website for their business are more confident about growth than those without a website.
Seventy-nine percent of entrepreneurs with a business website expect to grow at least 25% in the next three to five years, compared to 64% of those without a site — showing that having a strong online presence is indicative of ventures that have the confidence and savvy to invest in attracting new customers.
Entrepreneurs are confident when it comes to handling new technology
Thanks to recent innovations — including everything from the cloud, to collaboration tools, to new online marketing tools — the opportunity for entrepreneurs to manage their businesses’ tech needs themselves has grown immensely.
Seventy-five percent of our entrepreneur survey respondents shared that they handle technology needs themselves.
Of note, our survey shows 80% of U.S. female entrepreneurs handle their own tech needs, compared to 63% of U.S. male entrepreneurs.
Men are nearly twice as likely to outsource it to a company, ask a friend, or seek out a web professional or designer for their website and technology needs.
Future of work looks promising
These same new technologies, like cloud and collaboration tools, are helping to shape the future of work, including empowering entrepreneurs to work from anywhere.
While many believe younger generations may be more inclined to work remotely, it is actually the baby boomers (49%) and GenX-ers (42%) who are 50% more likely than millennials (26%) to believe remote work will be commonplace in the future.
This could be due to older generations enjoying perks like working from a home office or on the road.
Regardless, our research found that across all 10 regions surveyed, flexibility is the most compelling benefit to being an entrepreneur — ranking five times higher than the potential to earn more money.
And not only are entrepreneurs confidently taking advantage of new technologies, they’re also unfazed by the prospect of AI, automation and robots eliminating their jobs.
Seventy-five percent of entrepreneurs report that their small business will help insulate them from potential job loss stemming from the rise of these technologies. Women (76%) are also slightly more likely to believe than men (71%) that their businesses would weather these types of technological disruption.
Entrepreneurship leads to greater fulfillment
Our survey also found that U.S. entrepreneurs are positive about the impact they’re making on their local communities.
Of note, millennials are the most optimistic, with 52% of them reporting that they show owning a small business is possible, and 55% of them reporting that they provide the services their local community needs.
And perhaps the best survey finding of all?
After all the challenges these entrepreneurs face and knowing everything they now know about running their own business or becoming self-employed, 87% of U.S. small business owners said they would do it all over again.