Don’t stop believin’! 8 in 10 Kiwis have had business ideas but held back by budget and self-belief


New Zealanders are known for their ingenuity and now new survey findings confirm that while the majority of us have had an idea for a business, only half follow it through to fruition.

The 2023 MYOB Belief Barometer provides a snapshot of the current state of the entrepreneurial spirit and self-belief amongst potential and existing business owners, and comes as MYOB draws focus to its strategic and technological transformation to a business management platform.

The survey of 1,000 adults (18 yrs+) from across New Zealand found potential business opportunities are seemingly endless, with more than 8-in-10 (85%) New Zealanders saying they’ve had an idea for a business, and more than three quarters (77%) of those surveyed saying they believed they are capable of starting a business. However, only half (50%) of those who have had an idea for a business, have taken action to start it.

So, what’s holding potential entrepreneurs back from bringing their ideas to life? Not having the financial backing or support to pursue the idea was the number one reason (55%), followed by time commitments (47%) and a fear of failure (42%).

Similarly, greater financial security (67%) and the confidence to back themselves (47%) were the top two choices when respondents were asked what would have made the most difference to them actually pursuing their idea to start a business.

MYOB spokesperson Jo Tozer says while it’s no surprise that finances were the biggest hurdle, acting on the strength of their belief in their idea to explore avenues that could help them overcome these barriers could unleash the opportunities people are hoping for.

“Innovation is part of our DNA in New Zealand, and we see this every day in the range of SMEs that provide the backbone to our economy – but it’s brilliant to see that more widely, such a significant proportion of New Zealanders have considered starting a business. What’s key is having that confidence to back themselves. When armed with self-belief and the right tools and support, we could easily see more of these ideas make it past a chat around the BBQ.”

Moving past the start line

Despite confidence levels holding back some potential entrepreneurs, more than a third (37%) of business founders who took the plunge to start a business said they were extremely or very confident that their first business would succeed, followed by 40% who were moderately confident.

Asked who they would credit with being their biggest believers (supporters) when they started their first business, most Kiwi entrepreneurs said their partner (39%) while just slightly less (36%) said they were their own biggest supporter, and 31% said they had a supportive friend.

Further highlighting the importance and value of mindset and self-confidence, self-belief was also ranked consistently by those respondents who have started a business, as one of the top three factors influencing how well their first business did. Also credited as being influential to their business success were loyal customers, and their work ethic/commitment.

I’ve got no doubt that there are some absolute game-changing ideas out there and it would be a shame for these start-up dreams to be left unrealised because of any self-doubt in this area. This is precisely why MYOB has evolved into a platform that streamlines key business workflows – bringing everything together in one place where business owners can manage their entire business. We want to empower business owners to feel confident in their decisions and focus on unlocking their potential, so we’ve done the legwork for them.

“Starting a business is not only a big commitment but a very brave one – particularly in a time packed with economic challenges and uncertainty,” Tozer says.

“We know that what can often start out as a passion project or developing something unique to help others can very quickly evolve into much more, and with that growth comes even more responsibility – like getting finances and reporting sorted for tax time, or managing inventory and sales. The thought of this can be incredibly daunting and it’s important to recognise that business management doesn’t come naturally for everyone.


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