Majority of Americans Have Started or Considered Starting Their Own Business, Says New Survey

The recent surge in the number of home-based travel agents is part of a larger trend in the U.S., as more and more individuals set out to start their own businesses. According to a new survey by FindLaw.com, 61 percent of Americans have either started or thought about starting a small business. In addition:

•     Thirty percent of Americans say they have started at least one small business.

•     An additional 31 percent of Americans have thought about starting their own business at some point in their lives.

•     Only 39 percent of Americans say they have never started, or even considered starting, their own business.

Small businesses employ about half of all U.S. workers and have generated more than half of net new jobs annually over the last decade, according to the Small Business Administration. There are an estimated 20 million businesses in the U.S. that consist of only the owner with no additional employees.

"Owning your own business is a dream that many people have and that many people act upon," said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor at FindLaw.com. "Even in difficult economic times, people often take advantage of opportunities to start a business where they see unmet needs, a chance to turn a personal passion or interest into a business, or because they want to have more control and responsibility over their work life.

"Starting a business involves many legal and regulatory requirements, including state and local licensing and registration, taxation, zoning, intellectual property and financing," Rahlfs added. "Knowing what the requirements are, what information you'll need, and where to find good advice and help are essential. Research has found that businesses that make it through the first four years have a much better chance of lasting long-term."

Free Internet resources, such as the FindLaw Small Business Center, can provide helpful information on starting and managing a small business. The FindLaw Small Business Center covers first steps for starting a business, incorporation and business structures, business laws and regulations, finance, taxes, business forms and contracts, and a directory for finding attorneys who specialize in small business.

The FindLaw survey was conducted using a demographically balanced telephone survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percent.

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