Intuit report examining why people start companies says Canadians want to be their own boss


After speaking with 828 small business owners, Intuit Canada has released the results of its survey examining why founders decide to pursue entrepreneurship, and the challenges they’ve faced since taking the leap.

“Part of feeling confident about your business and its future requires a bit of legwork.” – Jeff Cates, Intuit Canada president

While most people think that entrepreneurs start their own businesses primarily to make money, the results suggest otherwise, as only 13 percent reported that they wanted to increase their earnings. Instead, 33 percent (one third) reported that they wanted to be their own bosses, and 21 percent (one in five) were looking for a better work-life balance.

Fifty-seven percent felt that their work-life balance improved since pursuing entrepreneurship — even though 67 percent work more than 50 hours a week.

“Many Canadian entrepreneurs are much happier being their own boss and with the autonomy that accompanies it,” said Jeff Cates, president of Intuit Canada. “In fact, the need for greater independence is both the number one motivation and payoff of small business ownership according to Intuit Canada’s newest survey.”

The report also found that two in five, or 41 percent of entrepreneurs check email or think about work within ten minutes of waking up.

“While long hours, early mornings, and weekends spent working can be challenging, running their own business also grants entrepreneurs the freedom to pursue their passions, which can be incredibly rewarding,” said Cates.

To manage precious time, Cates said that ditching manual spreadsheets and relying on software is a crucial first step. “Engaging with financial management software can equip entrepreneurs with an immediate picture of their financial situation, save valuable time, increase revenues and help their business reach its full potential,” he said.

While the survey revealed that money wasn’t the only reason for becoming a small business owner, cash flow was the number one stressor; 32 percent cited it as the main concern keeping them up at night. But Cates said that having a solid grasp of financial fundamentals, developing a relationship with a financial professional, and reaching out to networks are important ways to stay on top of cash flow. He names Ryerson’s DMZ, Communitech, Startup Canada, and Futurpreneur as valuable resources.

“Part of feeling confident about your business and its future requires a bit of legwork – take the time to put a plan in place and understand your numbers,” he said. “Good advice is another crucial component of long-term success, and entrepreneurs should take full advantage of the resources available to them within the Canadian startup ecosystem.”

Related: Startup Canada and Intuit team up to give entrepreneurs crash course in financial literacy

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Freelance tech writer. Former BetaKit News Editor.