Most New Business Ideas Hatching for 6 or More Months

A new report shows that most new business owners spend months working on their business plan prior to starting up.

learn more about Catherine Clifford

By Catherine Clifford

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Entrepreneurs have to be risk-takers, to be sure. But that doesn't capture the whole picture. Many are also planners.

Six in 10 people who started a business in the past year spent six or more months working on a business idea before they even applied to form their business into a legal entity, according to a new survey from the Kansas City, Mo.-based entrepreneurship organization Kauffman Foundation in partnership with the legal-document service company LegalZoom.com.

The Startup Environment Index, released today, is the first report of its kind and surveyed 1,431 business owners who formed their companies through Glendale, Calif.-based LegalZoom.com in 2012.

Related: Hunting for Business Ideas? Consider Looking at These 8 Hot Industries

Only nine percent of the businesses surveyed spent less than a month working on their business idea before forming it into a legal entity. About a third of businesses surveyed spent between one and five months before filing the legal paperwork. And 14 percent of new businesses owners persevered for more than three years before filing.

Of the more than 1,400 business owners surveyed, 70 percent were "solopreneurs," forming companies with no other employees. A quarter had between one and four employees, the report found.

Related: 7 Trends in 'Green' Business, Not Just for Tree-Huggers

The top industries in which respondents started businesses were:

  • Consulting
  • Miscellaneous service businesses -- those other than personal, business, home and financial-related services
  • Internet companies, either ecommerce or a website
  • Real estate
  • Business services

How long have you been thinking about starting your own business and what industry are you considering? Leave a note below and let us know.

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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