High Streets Initiative · 8 November 2018

“It’s the real love for what you sell”: Why shopkeepers are UK’s happiest entrepreneurs

shopkeepers
Small business owners were far more likely to enjoy their career those who don’t own a business.

Britain’s shopkeepers have higher job satisfaction than any other business owners, according to new survey findings.

In a study of 1,000 employers running enterprises with fewer than 20 staff, undertaken by YouGov and analysed by Vend, 49% of retailers said they “loved” their job – more than any other sector.

The research demonstrated the dedication of small retailers in what is an increasingly tough and uncertain high street environment.

Although job satisfaction was low in other areas, such as legal at just 19%, small business owners were far more likely to enjoy their career those who don’t own a business. 39% of entrepreneurs said, if money was no object, they wouldn’t consider changing careers, compared to the national average of 14%.

Percentage of small business owners who “love” their job

  1. Retail – 49%
  2. Hospitality – 46%
  3. Media / Marketing – 40%
  4. Financial services – 34%
  5. IT – 28%
  6. Manufacturing – 26%
  7. Real estate – 24%
  8. Accountancy – 24%
  9. Construction – 20%
  10. Legal – 19%

2 independent shopkeepers on the rewards of retailing

Recounting his experience of setting up and running a retail business Jake Hardy, founder of Brick Lane fashion retailer Number Six, explained why he wouldn’t choose any other path.

“From my experience, as any store owner will tell you, it’s the passion for what they do which gets them up each morning,” Hardy said.

“It’s the real love for what you sell, your staff, your customers, and how the store plays a part in the local community.”

“It can be in the little things as well – the flexibility to try something different and being there to see the rewards first-hand when something works. I didn’t set up Number Six thinking it was going to be an easy ride and I wouldn’t trade either the good or bad days for anything else.”

Alice Mayor, founder of Carnaby Street-based souvenir and art store We Built This City, said that despite the many challenges of maintaining a successful retail business, the sector brought her unique benefits.

“Opening a store that supports London’s creative community, and which allows us to sell curated London-inspired goods to thousands of people that visit this amazing city every year, gives me immense job satisfaction,” Mayor explained.

“Don’t get me wrong: running an independent retail business is far from easy, but there aren’t many sectors in which I’d be able to embrace my passion for supporting the arts as strongly as I do at We Built This City.”

“Feedback we get from the customers who shop with us and the artists we support is overwhelmingly positive, and that gives a huge boost not just to me as the owner of the business, but also to my whole team.”

Commenting on the findings, Higor Torchia, UK country manager for Vend, said retailers were defying headlines on the tough trading environment.

“From working with retail stores and owners across the country, we know many retailers and their staff do it for more than just the pay cheque (or the employee discounts!).

“They have a real passion for their products, their business, and their communities, and they love building personal relationships with their customers. And it’s that passion that helps them to stand above the rest.

While few retailers would tell you that it’s an easy job, it can be a hugely rewarding profession. We would all be so lucky to love our jobs like many of our amazing high street retailers do.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and has previously worked as a content editor in local government and the ecommerce industry.

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