Wells Fargo Survey: Millennials More Willing to Incur Debt to Grow Their Small Businesses
July 29th, 2016
According to a recent Wells Fargo study conducted by research firm GfK, Millennial small business owners are committed to their businesses for the long term and are more willing to take calculated financial risks and incur debt in order to grow their businesses than other generations.
In an online survey of approximately 1,000 U.S. small business owners, majorities of both Millennial small business owners and older small business owners say they started their businesses to control their future and be their own boss, wanting greater flexibility in where, when and how they work.
Millennial small business owners place more value on feeling passionate about their work, with 59 percent reporting passion as a motivation for starting their business, compared with 51 percent of older small business owners. Another reason for starting a business—wanting a challenge and growth—ranks higher among older small business owners (55 percent of older small business owners vs. 43 percent of Millennial small business owners).
Contrary to popular perceptions that Millennials are focused on the short term and more apt to be serial entrepreneurs, the study found the generation is gearing up for the long term, seeing their business endeavors as investments in the future, with many already looking ahead to the next generations. In fact, 80 percent of Millennial small business owners say they hope to grow their businesses over many years, potentially even passing it down to their children someday, in spite of most (59 percent) not yet having children. By comparison, 66 percent of older small business owners say they hope to pass down the business to their children.
Although Millennials are more likely to have started their business as a hobby (18 percent vs. 7 percent for older small business owners), about 70 percent of all small business owners surveyed now work fulltime for their business. When it comes to how quickly they want to grow their businesses, the two groups differ: 79 percent of older small business owners say they are happy to stay a small business as long as they can create a comfortable future for themselves and their families. That percentage is smaller for Millennial small business owners, where 59 percent report they are happy to stay a small business, and 41 percent are looking not only for a comfortable future, but to grow their business as big as possible.