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Many Entrepreneurs Would Swap Ownership for a Job

By Mikal E. Belicove

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's been a bad week for business, no doubt about that. New jobless claims are on the rise--again. The stock market has dropped below 10,000--again. The national debt has climbed to its highest level since World War II, and pending home sales plunged a record 30 percent. And it's only Thursday.

On top of all this, a new survey shows that fully one-third of small-business owners say that--given the opportunity--they'd swap their business for a job working for someone else. As long as they were paid what they're now making or more, these entrepreneurs said they'd drop everything, close up shop and take a job. Another 13 percent said they'd certainly consider selling for employment with someone else.

This second-guessing of business ownership was revealed this week in The Discover Small Business Watch, a survey compiled each month by Rasmussen Reports LLC, an independent research firm. Conclusions are based on interviews conducted a with about 750 small-business owners, and it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The small-business owners were also asked what it would take for them to sell their business. Forty-one percent said they'd never sell. Of the remaining 59 percent:

  • 27 percent said they aren't sure.
  • 18 percent said they'd need to make money on what they've already invested.
  • 11 percent said they'd be happy just to recover what they've put into their business.
  • 3 percent would be willing to take a loss to get out of the business.

The survey also reports that 40 percent of those responding to the survey said they've given some thought to modifying their business model or entering a new line of business. And half of those claim the recession has "severely" hurt their business, prompting those thoughts of change.

In addition, the economic climate has seen more small-business owners experiencing temporary cash-flow issues in June--51 percent compared to 45 percent in May. These are the highest figures since January. The percentage of owners who say the economy is getting worse remained steady at about 51 percent.

Forty-three percent of June's respondents said business conditions are getting worse, down only one point from the 44 percent reported in May. On the other hand, 30 percent of those answering the June survey said economic conditions for their businesses are improving, a 2 percent increase over May's figures.

What about you? If you were offered a job working for someone who offered more money than what you currently make, would you take the job or continue to own your own business?

Mikal E. Belicove is a market positioning, social media, and management consultant specializing in website usability and business blogging. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Facebook, is now available at bookstores. 

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