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UK nation of self-doubters

Nearly half of UK adults have considered setting up their own business, but one in two of these are too scared of failure to do anything about it, according to a nationwide survey commissioned by Orange Business Services.

The survey, conducted together with Tickbox.net, of over 2,481 UK adults found that in as little as three years’ time the self-start business sector could be set to explode with millions of aspiring entrepreneurs currently drawing up business plans.

Unfortunately, due to Britain being a nation of serial self-doubters, over a third of them could be lost – almost 7million potential start-ups. Fear of failure is the number-one barrier to starting up a new business, with respondents stating low self-confidence was preventing them from going it alone, suggesting a worrying lack of faith in our business abilities.

Yet, despite their fears, 14 per cent of all adults claim to be exploring a definite area, and a further eight per cent are on the path to making it a reality. Twenty four per cent anticipate going it alone in the next two to five years, and 14 per cent within the next one to two years.

Tim Campbell, winner of ‘The Apprentice’ and a leading young UK entrepreneur commented: “That half of British people consider setting up their own business is great news for the UK economy.

“While it’s clear that the main barriers holding people back are emotional as a nation we have the drive and passion. If the business community can share a few hints and tips to encourage budding entrepreneurs, people’s fears will be overcome and more dreams will be become reality.”

The Orange survey also shows that the British have a positive attitude to entrepreneurs. Less than 20 per cent of people characterise successful or arrogant. Instead, over 90 per cent of people associate confidence and hard work with success stories, with over 60 per cent also associating creativity and courage with success in business.

Martin Lyne, director of small business, Orange Business Services UK, added: “British people view enterprise positively and are enthusiastic to give it a go. And it’s not the hard skills holding us back as our lack of self-confidence and fear of failure.

“Government, industry figures, community leaders and the education system can all play a part in nurturing self-belief and confidence in our would-be entrepreneur workforce. The biggest discrepancy between entrepreneurial desire and fear of failure is among the young and there is a strong case to cultivate an appetite for rational risk in the education system.”

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