Entrepreneurship is Tough But Rewarding Says American Express Study

Two of my mentors, Lamar Tyler and Brian Hess share very openly that entrepreneurship is NOT easy. However, the rewards are amazing. American Express issued its third Amex Trendex: Small Business Edition which echoes this sentiment. The report reveals that despite economic uncertainties, the personal drive and long-term aspirations of small business owners are fueling their optimism.

Gina Taylor Cotter, EVP & GM of Small Business Products & Business Blueprint at American Express, shared, “Small business owners face challenges with pricing and cash flow forecasting. Despite these issues, they are overwhelmingly satisfied with their entrepreneurial career choice, planning to maintain their businesses for the foreseeable future.”

Pricing and Cash Flow

Concerns such as pricing hikes and cash flow issues dominate the worries of small business owners, with 44% and 35% of respondents citing them respectively. However, a significant 68% of owners wish for more time to enhance their products or services rather than managing finances. Nonetheless, 95% express contentment with their decision to start their businesses.

Long Term

The survey indicates that 60% of small business owners see their ventures as long-term commitments, expecting to operate for more than five years. The top long-term business goals include achieving industry leadership and expanding their workforce.


Motivation for starting a small business varies widely. Over 84% of owners were driven by personal passion, 65% saw a community need, 59% aimed to support their families, and 44% sought flexible work arrangements.

Technology and Generational Impact

The impact of technology and social media on business practices is particularly notable among Millennials and Gen-Zers. This demographic is more likely to jump straight into entrepreneurship fresh from school and depend heavily on technological solutions to manage their businesses.

The Amex Trendex also highlights a generational shift in learning about entrepreneurship. While 56% of younger owners learned about entrepreneurship online or via social media, 47% of Gen-Xers and Boomers had personal connections with entrepreneurs. Furthermore, while older generations often transitioned from traditional jobs, younger owners are more likely to have been students or unemployed prior to starting their businesses.

Technology plays a crucial role for Millennial and Gen-Z owners, with 33% acknowledging it as a key factor in navigating recent challenges, compared to just 18% of older generations.

Younger business owners also exhibit more skepticism about entrepreneurship. They are more likely to believe that wealth is essential for starting a business and that successful entrepreneurs typically go it alone. Additionally, one-third of the younger cohort believes that entrepreneurs are born, not made, showing a stark contrast in mindset compared to older generations.

Related articles:

How To Create Lasting Generational Wealth from Your Business(Opens in a new browser tab)

Are You Smart Enough to be an Entrepreneur?(Opens in a new browser tab)

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