The popular image of small business owners in their 20s and 30s as mostly interested in making a fast buck and moving on may be just a myth.
A survey released by Wells Fargo & Co. portrays people in that age group, commonly known as millennials, as generally serious about being long-term business owners — 80 percent of the young owners surveyed said they want to build a company over many years and maybe pass it on their children. And nearly 60 percent don’t have kids yet.
The results are at odds with the popular belief that millennials want to start companies, sell them quickly and start new ones they can also sell, a phenomenon known as serial entrepreneurship, Wells Fargo said.
“They recognize an investment in their business is an investment in their future,” said Lisa Stevens, head of small business services at the bank.
The survey questioned 500 business owners age 19 and older. It found that quality of life was a big driver in millennials becoming business owners. Eighty-two percent said being able to control their future was a top reason why they started a company. Nearly three-quarters wanted more flexibility in when, where and how they work.
The majority of millennials have made a serious commitment to their companies. Although 18 percent started a company as a hobby and a third launched a company as a part-time venture, 71 percent work on their businesses full time.
ZIGZAG CONTINUES: Small business hiring blipped higher in June, with companies adding 95,000 jobs, according to ADP, the payroll processing company. That was a gain of 19,000 jobs from May’s 76,000, which in turn was a drop from April’s 93,000 new positions. ADP uses data provided by its small business customers, those with up to 49 employees, to compile its report.
Hiring at ADP’s small business customers has fluctuated since the beginning of the year, with back-to-back gains occurring only in March and April. Hiring also remains below the pace of 100,000 new jobs that companies averaged monthly in the first half of 2015. The uneven economy has many owners sticking to the conservative strategy they adopted during the recession; owners have said in surveys they won’t hire until they have enough new revenue to justify expanding their staffs.
Small business and the economy are in a vicious circle of sorts — economists say small business hiring must gain momentum for the economy to step up its recovery. But many owners, seeing weak growth like the 1.1 percent annual increase in the gross domestic product in the first three months of the year, have little incentive to hire. Some companies are also uneasy about the possibility of economic fallout from the British vote to leave the European Union.
The Labor Department’s report Friday about a surge in U.S. hiring could contradict the ADP findings, but the government update didn’t break out job gains by company size.
RETIREMENT PLANNING: Business owners who are contemplating starting a retirement plan for themselves or their employees can get information about their options at an online seminar sponsored by SCORE, the organization that gives free counseling to small businesses. It will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Learn more and register at http://tinyurl.com/hyp7fnr.