Business owners reveal their biggest start-up regrets

Over a quarter of the UK's small and medium entrepreneurs say it took over a year for them to feel confident in running a business

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Not spending enough time on marketing and finances are the biggest start-up regrets of the UK’s small and medium-sized business owners.

According to a survey of 501 small firms (less than 250 employees) by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), when asked ‘What do you wish you’d spent more time on when starting out?’, 19% of business owners said marketing, 11% said understanding finances, 8% said IT, and 5% said they wished they’d focused more on PR and social media.

In all, 65% of small and medium entrepreneurs said there was at least one business area they struggled with initially but, for many of these business owners, this was largely due to a lack of research. 26% of business owners said they started a business less than a month after researching the market.

Of those that had researched and sought out business advice, 19% said they had used internet search engines, 22% went to an accountant, 11% visited business websites (like that of, and 8% had sought out advice from trade bodies such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

For many of the country’s small business owners, the start-up process didn’t come naturally – for 27% it took them over a year to feel confident in running their own business. Worryingly, 4% of business owners admitted they still don’t feel completely confident in running their business.

Discussing the findings, Rob Alder, head of business development at AAT, said:

“Starting your own business can be a daunting process. This research shows that many people who want to run their own business may need more help when they’re starting out. If you have a business idea, it’s essential you do as much research as possible to ensure your idea has the best chance to succeed.

“You should […] ensure you get as much advice as you can, from multiple sources.”

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