The insights, surprises and data gleaned from this effort were compiled in the 2019 HP Small Business Study. The study revealed the passions, aspirations, frustrations and dedication of business owners across the world and across four generations.
The findings of the study show there are unique differences in attitudes and actions of small business owners across geography and generations.
What follows are eye-opening results.
I. Entrepreneurship Requires Sacrifice
Sixty-two percent of U.S. business owners reported they had made sacrifices when starting their business. Sacrifices reported included a lack of time with their families, dipping into personal finances, a lack of financial security, and being unable to get business off their minds while on vacation. Globally, 75 percent of the respondents said they had to make at least one sacrifice when starting their business.
Generationally, Gen Z reported having made the most sacrifices (86 percent), while Baby Boomers reported the least (67 percent).
The right technology partner can be instrumental in giving back time through efficiencies and productivity-enhancing hardware and software solutions.
When entrepreneurs finally leave their offices and get to bed, the troubles still don't end. 66 percent of U.S. business owners had suffered some form of business-related insomnia. Globally that figure is 80 percent, with China leading the way at 97 percent.
II. As Printers Have Become Technology Suites, Business Owners are More and More Dependent on them for the Future of Their Business
While the study covered topics relating to technology, philosophy, and business strategy, it also produced some fascinating data surrounding core business tools like printers and their crucial impact on the success or failure of businesses.
What the study found was that printers remain a necessary tool for small business owners. In fact, 91 percent of U.S. business owners surveyed own a printer to support their business needs.
Business owners want more features from their printers than just printing. Whether it's scanning photos or documents or sending emails, most agree with the statement, "a printer is more than just a printer, it's a technology partner." Generationally, millennials (56 percent) felt most strongly about this.
Imagine being on a business trip and needing to scan, edit and share documents with partners and customers who are scattered across the world. HP's Smart App not only gives you the ability to do all of that, but also allows you to use your mobile device to print from anywhere and have those printouts waiting for you when you return to the office.
These sophisticated, productivity-enhancing technologies were unimaginable just a few years ago.
The 2019 Small Business Study is just one element of HP's global outreach to small business owners. Whether it means hosting local focus groups or rolling up their sleeves to get "under the hood" of a small business, HP representatives are on the ground on virtually every continent across the globe.
III. Today's Business Owners are Committed to Doing Good While Doing Well
It shouldn't come as a complete surprise, but small business owners are becoming more and more socially and environmentally aware and active. For the U.S. respondents, some of the key findings in this area include:
- 64 percent of U.S. small business owners agree: Responsible small business owners have a duty to do their part to protect the environment
- 60 percent of U.S. small business owners agree: Responsible small business owners have a duty to do their part to contribute to the community
- 33 percent of U.S. small business owners agree: Small business owners have a duty to take a stand on controversial societal and/or political issues
IV. Gen Z's Optimism, Passion and Dedication give Us Hope for a Positive and Prosperous Future
When it comes to attitudes and behaviors in running businesses, Gen Z proved itself to be the generation most likely to focus on making a change in their industry and communities and most likely to be devoted to the social good. Gen Z had the highest score of any generation in the following areas:
- 70 percent of Gen Zers believe they're "moving their industry forward"
- 57 percent of Gen Zers are convinced they're "making a significant mark on the world"
- 68 percent of Gen Zers believe that "contributing to and advancing my industry" is important to their motivation for continuing their businesses
- 68 percent of Gen Zers believe that "making the world a better place" is important to their motivation for continuing their businesses
- 71 percent of Gen Zers believe that "contributing to my community" is important to their motivation for continuing their businesses
- 75 percent of Gen Zers believe that "advancing social justice" is important to their motivation for continuing their businesses
The 2019 HP Small Business Today Survey paints a picture of global and generational shifts in beliefs surrounding the role of the business owner in society. While earning money, and owning their own businesses were at the top of the list for how business owners define success, there is an increasing recognition that there is also a responsibility to give back to society and even to make the world a better place.
HP understands that the only way to serve a customer is to understand the customer.
The findings of the study are already helping HP find ways to better serve the needs of the small business market.
On the philosophical level, HP learned that the future of business is in good hands, with Gen Z and millennial business owners both committed to making an impact on their industries, their communities, and even their worlds.
On the practical level, the survey reinforced that lack of time is the entrepreneur's worst enemy. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Productivity and efficiency are what every business owner strives for.
This knowledge fuels everything HP does.
The goal of HP's new, reinvented OfficeJet Pro series of small business printers is to provide small business owners, entrepreneurs, and home businesses with the gift of time. It can be as simple as the OfficeJet Pro's ability to remotely monitor ink levels and automatically deliver ink straight to your door before you run out.
The OfficeJet Pro helps business owners to streamline processes in so many other ways. HP's Smart App works with the OfficeJet Pro to deliver on-the-go mobile printing and scanning from anywhere. Its Smart Tasks feature eliminates steps in repetitive tasks with customizable shortcuts, saving businesses enormous amounts of time. In fact, Smart Tasks, used with the OfficeJet Pro, helps businesses organize documents 50 percent faster since the app automates scanning tasks.
By helping to make business operations more streamlined and efficient, HP is doing its part to help the entrepreneurs of today to build the thriving businesses of tomorrow.
Brandon McGovern, HP's Director of Customer Experience sums it up this way:
"For us, it's all about removing pain points and then help our customers to do more around the idea of creating, managing, and growing their businesses. Really this is behind all we do as we develop new products and services that help them achieve more."