Much has been said in the media about the rise and strength of the gig economy, with some debate about what constitutes a true small business start, as opposed to a part-time side hustle that is designed to bring in supplemental income.

To further investigate this question, The Megaphone of Main Street Startups report asked respondents to define their original intentions in starting their business.

SCORE’s latest infographic examines how startups begin and how entrepreneurs find support in the first year of business.

This infographic highlights the findings of part 1 of The Megaphone of Main Street Startups report.

Businesses are not started on a whim. Most entrepreneurs begin a new business with passion and experience.

  • 40.2%: Passionate for the product/service I provide
  • 16%: Wanted the flexibility of self-employment
  • 15.1%: Saw a gap in the marketplace that I wanted to fill
  • 14.6%: Unemployment or underemployment at my previous job
  • 13.9%: Wanted to be my own boss

New owners have on average 11.5 years of experience in their industry. 

Startup entrepreneurs turn to friends and family, mentors and a business plan for support.

What kept you motivated/inspired when you hit rough patches in the first year? 

  • 66.2%: Support of family/friends
  • 43.1%: Plan for my business idea
  • 42.9%: Business mentor
  • 30.3%: Personal coach/counseling
  • 29.5%: Networking groups
  • 24.9%: How-to training
  • 19.6%: Specific advisor in industry/field
  • 9.8%: Trade Associations
  • 6.0%: Co-working spaces

The most effective marketing tactics are those that directly engage with prospective customers.

  • 64.9% success rate: Reached out to personal/professional network
  • 59.9% success rate: Speaking at events
  • 53.6% success rate: Formal networking groups
  • 52.1% success rate: Social media
  • 50.8% success rate: Online advertising
  • 49.2% success rate: Email marketing
  • 45% success rate: Search engine optimization
  • 42.7% success rate: Cold calling
  • 42.2% success rate: Print advertising

Whether you’re a startup or an established business, SCORE mentors can help you succeed.

The Megaphone of Main Street: Startups, Infographic #1: Finding Your Way, Finding Customers

The Megaphone of Main Street: Startups, Infographic #1: Finding Your Way, Finding Customers