Small Business Owners a Happy Group

July 26, 2010 ( - Despite the economic challenges they've faced over the past few years, American small business owners declare themselves to be a happy group, according to a new survey from TD Bank.

Sixty-nine percent of American small business owners polled for the TD Small Business Happiness Index would describe themselves as “very happy,” with 61% believing they are happier than their peers. Furthermore, the pressures of the recent recession have not deterred small business owners from entrepreneurship, as 87% say that five years from now, they’re likely to still be running their own business, according to a press release.    

The survey also revealed that nearly nine in 10 American small business owners are happier owning and running their own business as compared with working for someone else. They say that owning a small business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment (97%) plus a strong personal connection to their employees (94%) and their customers (88%).   

In addition, 82% say that owning a small business gives them the opportunity to volunteer their time or make donations to charities, sports teams, and events – in spite of the fact that the majority work 50 or more hours each week, with 39% saying they work 60 hours or more.    

The top three benefits of small business ownership respondents included being their own boss, setting their own schedule, and being in control or being able to make their own decisions. The top three challenges cited were managing budgets and cash flow; the responsibilities, risks and stress associated with owning their companies; and the long hours and limited time off.  

Overall, American small business owners’ responses are consistent with those of their Canadian counterparts, with slightly more U.S. small business owners describing themselves as very happy (69% vs. 62%). Americans say they are more likely to continue running their companies over the next few years (87% vs. 79%).   

More Canadians than Americans say they have a hard time managing, recruiting and retaining their workforce (24% vs. 11%). American and Canadian small business owners work identical hours per week (47.6 vs. 47.7, respectively).   

The TD Small Business Happiness Index examined the attitudes and behaviors of small business owners in a dozen North American metropolitan areas. Small businesses were defined as those companies having five to 50 employees. The research was conducted by Environics Research which surveyed a total of 1,213 small business owners across North America between May 13 and June 15, 2010, including 502 small business owners in the United States.