Secret to happiness: own a small business

July 27th, 2010 - 1:02 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, July 27 (IANS) The secret to happiness lies in being self-employed with a small business, says a survey of businesses in the US and Canada.

According to the survey by Canada’s TD (Toronto Dominion) Bank Financial Group, 69 percent of small business owners in the US described themselves as “very happy” against 62 percent in Canada. The survey targeted 1,213 small businesses - with five to 50 employees - in a dozen cities across North America to examine the attitudes and behaviours of owners.

It revealed that nearly nine in 10 small business owners are happier owning and running their own business as compared to working for someone else.

“What the TD Small Business Happiness Index demonstrates is that small business owners enjoy a sense of control and freedom that they don’t generally realize when working for someone else,” said Alec Morley, Senior Vice President, Small Business Banking, TD Canada Trust. “Despite the recent economic downturn and the ongoing challenges of managing and growing a business, the personal satisfaction small business owners report illustrates one of the key advantages of owning your own company,” he added.

Listing the several reasons for their high satisfaction levels, small business owners said that owning a small business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment (97 percent) and a deep personal connection to their employees (91 percent) and their customers (84 percent). About 86 said that owning a small business gives them the opportunity to volunteer their time or make donations to charities, sports teams and events.

Listing the benefits of small business ownership, the respondents said the top three benefits are: being their own boss, setting their own schedule and being in control or being able to make their own decisions. “Small business owners tell us that owning a business has many advantages, despite the day-to-day challenges that come with running a company like red tape, property taxes and attracting and retaining talent,” said Morley.

The findings also revealed that small business owners are happy no matter where they live.

The top five happiest cities for small business owners in Canada are:

Calgary (30 percent), Montreal (29 percent), Ottawa (27 percent), Toronto (26 percent) and Vancouver (23 percent).

But there are more “very happy” small business owners in Los Angeles (36 percent) and Boston (31 percent) than Canadian cities, according to the survey.

However, this happiness comes with a price as owning a small business means more working hours.

The majority of small business owners work 50 or more hours each week, compared to 40 hours for employees in North America, according to the survey.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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