The Secret to Happiness? Own a Small Business

- TD Small Business Happiness Index reveals benefits of business ownership -

Jul 26, 2010, 11:00 ET from TD Bank

CHERRY HILL, N.J., and PORTLAND, Maine, July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the economic challenges they've faced over the past few years, American small business owners declare themselves to be a happy group, according to a new survey from TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®.

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A remarkable 69 percent of American small business owners polled for the TD Small Business Happiness Index would describe themselves as "very happy," with 61 percent believing they are happier than their peers. Furthermore, the pressures of the recent recession have not deterred small business owners from entrepreneurship, as 87 percent say that five years from now, they're likely to still be running their own business.  

TD Bank's survey − which explored the attitudes and behaviors of North American small business owners in a dozen metropolitan areas across the United States and Canada − further revealed that nearly 9 in 10 American small business owners are happier owning and running their own business as compared with working for someone else. However, the sense of pride and accomplishment they derive as small business owners is paired with a deep commitment to the office, as the majority work 50 or more hours each week, with 39 percent saying they work 60 hours or more.  

"The TD Small Business Happiness Index confirms that life as a small business owner can be quite fulfilling. Even in a tough economy, they're willing to tackle the ongoing challenges of managing a business in exchange for the personal satisfaction of being their own boss," said Fred Graziano, Head of Retail and Small Business Banking for TD Bank. "With such optimism and determination, it's no wonder that small businesses are leading the way to economic recovery, and TD Bank stands ready to assist with the counsel and capital they need to succeed."

Why are small business owners so happy?

There are several reasons for small business owners' high satisfaction levels. American small business owners say that owning a small business gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment (97 percent) plus a strong personal connection to their employees (94 percent) and their customers (88 percent). In addition, 82 percent say that owning a small business gives them the opportunity to volunteer their time or make donations to charities, sports teams and events.

The benefits and drawbacks of small business ownership

According to the TD Small Business Happiness Index, small business owners say the top three benefits of small business ownership are 1) being their own boss, 2) setting their own schedule, and 3) being in control or being able to make their own decisions.

Of course, small business owners are familiar with the challenges of entrepreneurship, and cite the top three as 1) managing budgets and cash flow, 2) the responsibilities, risks and stress associated with owning their companies, and 3) the long hours and limited time off.

"Our survey results show that 88 percent of small business owners can never truly stop thinking about their business, and more than half have trouble separating their business lives from their personal ones," Graziano said. "Fortunately, TD Bank can make running a business easier, with the conveniences of personal service, 7-day banking, access to loans and lines of credit, and tools to manage your finances."

American vs. Canadian small business owners

How do American small business owners compare with their peers to the north? Overall, Americans' responses are very consistent with those of their Canadian counterparts, with slightly more U.S. small business owners describing themselves as very happy (69 percent vs. 62 percent). Consequently, Americans say they are more likely to continue running their companies over the next few years (87 percent vs. 79 percent). More Canadians than Americans say they have a hard time managing, recruiting and retaining their workforce (24 percent vs. 11 percent). Interestingly, American and Canadian small business owners work identical hours per week (47.6 vs. 47.7, respectively).

About the TD Small Business Happiness Index

The TD Small Business Happiness Index examined the attitudes and behaviors of small business owners in a dozen North American metropolitan areas. Small businesses were defined as those companies having 5 to 50 employees. The research was conducted by Environics Research which surveyed a total of 1,213 small business owners across North America between May 13 and June 15, 2010, including 502 small business owners in the United States.

About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 15 largest commercial banks in the United States with $160 billion in assets, and provides customers with a full range of financial products and services at more than 1,100 convenient locations from Maine to Florida. Effective April 16, 2010, TD Bank has acquired certain assets of Riverside National Bank of Florida, First Federal Bank of North Florida and AmericanFirst Bank, and currently operates under those trade names. TD Bank, N.A., is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Portland, Maine. For more information, visit  

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: TD) of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America and one of the few banks in the world rated Aaa by Moody's.