Recently, U.S. Trust (which is a part of Bank of America) released the results of their latest survey of 242 high-net-worth business owners, all of whom have at least $3 million in investable assets. The surprise? Many came from humbler backgrounds than you’d expect. If you want to be a success, there’s a lot you can learn from these millionaire business owners about risk, reward, and professional values.
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Here are a few of the most interesting takeaways from the survey.
- Most don’t come from money and privilege.
The majority (about two-thirds) of those surveyed came from middle class or poor backgrounds. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they came from a family that “valued discipline,” 78 percent said their families encouraged their talents, and 60 percent reported “early work participation.” While entrepreneurs don’t necessarily come from privileged backgrounds, the roots of their ambition and drive are generally evident in some capacity.
- It’s often a family affair.
A lot of successful business owners work with family. Roughly 40 percent of those surveyed said that they work with family members, and most see their involvement as helping to give them “a competitive advantage.” There are upsides and downsides to working with family. But, when someone is really committed to their business, as these owners are, it’s a pretty natural fit.
“Entrepreneurs tend to think of their business as an extension of themselves and their family, often their greatest source of motivation and strength so characteristic of successful owners,” Keith Banks, president of U.S. Trust, said in a press release. “The hard work and sacrifices needed to create and build a business make being an entrepreneur very much a family affair.”
- They prefer to work this way, even though they think it’s harder.
Despite the fact that the majority (74 percent) of the business owners surveyed said that working for themselves was harder than working for someone else, 8 out of 10 of them would still prefer to own their own business. These entrepreneurs are motivated and driven toward propelling their own successes.
- …but it’s not really about the money.
You might think that millionaire business owners would be motivated to start their own companies by a desire to drive up their bottom line, but actually that’s not the case. In fact, the majority of those surveyed said they were motivated by an interest in controlling their own fates and pursuing their passions, not by a desire to earn more money. Although, 83 percent reported that they feel that business owners ultimately earn more than they would if they worked for someone else.
- They are taking risks, but they don’t think about it that way very often.
A very large percentage (49 percent) of respondents said that most of their assets and income are tied to their business. Still though, 63 percent said that they don’t have an exit plan.
Be sure to check out the full survey results from U.S. Trust for more information.
Tell Us What You Think
What factors do you think contribute most directly to the success of those surveyed? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.