Survey Says: Entrepreneurs Are Loners, First-Borns and Don't Have A Business Degree

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Dharmesh Shah
Dharmesh Shah



I came across an interesting “mental candy” article recently from Inc. magazine which describes a survey conducted by Intuit.  The survey represented about 1,300 small business owners.  In this case, a small business was defined as having 20 or fewer employees.

Here are some of the facts that I found fun and somewhat interesting:


  1. 43 percent of the respondents admitted they were “loners” as kids.

I’m not that surprised that such a large percentage of entrepreneurs would label themselves as “loners”.  Most of the entrepreneurs I know would likely fall into this camp.  What I found a wee bit interesting was the phrasing of the sentence.  43% of us “admitted” that we were loners (with the implication being that we’re admitting some fault.  Personally, I think being a loner or an introvert is simply an attribute and neither good nor bad.  

  1. 43 percent are the oldest in their family.

I think the fact that this number matches the number in point 1 is simply a co-incidence (though it would be interesting to see how much overlap there was between the two – i.e. are 90% of the loners the first-borns?).  

  1. 77 percent do not have a business degree.

Up until recently (June of last year), I would have fallen into this camp too.  I’m a bit surprised by just how many business owners don’t have a business degree.  But, I guess this might be true in other areas as well.  For example, how many software developers have computer science (or related) degrees?

And, here’s a bonus item:  85 percent of small business owners are sole proprietors (a legal designation that means the owner is the sole owner and directly liable for the business).  I find this particularly interesting.  This means there are millions of people out there that are by choice or by circumstance are exclusive owners of their companies.  It would be interesting to know what the break-down was by industry sector (but the raw data doesn’t seem to have been made available).

Here’s the full article from Inc.:  Not Only The Loners Become Entrepreneurs


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