Herbalife Survey: 7 in 10 People in Asia Pacific Aspire to Be Business Owner

Asia Pacific

Herbalife Nutrition’s recently released Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Survey 2019 revealed that seven in 10 (71%) of consumers in the region aspire to own a business.

Conducted in April 2019, the study showed the desire to become an entrepreneur being the strongest among those in Indonesia (96%), the Philippines (92%), Thailand (89%) and Malaysia (86%). In addition, the majority (54%) of people in Asia Pacific believe that working on their own business would be more fulfilling as compared to working for someone else.

“Many Asia Pacific consumers dream of starting their own business, but the process of doing so can be daunting,” said Stephen Conchie, senior vice president and managing director for Asia Pacific, Herbalife Nutrition. “Through this study, new insights into the perceptions and attitudes of aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as the experiences of current entrepreneurs were uncovered to help us better understand how we can support people’s ambitions, in hope that more will find the courage to take the leap and become an entrepreneur one day.”

Desire to Fulfill a Dream Motivates Entrepreneurs to Start Their Own Business

When Asia Pacific entrepreneurs were asked about the reasons for starting their own businesses, the desire to fulfill a dream topped the list, with close to half (48%) of the respondents who already own their own businesses (entrepreneurs) polled agreeing with this point. This was followed by:

  • The desire for income gain (43%)
  • The need to follow their gut/intuition (37%)
  • Encouragement by family (30%)
  • Encouragement by friends (22%)

While their entrepreneurship experiences differ, a large majority of entrepreneurs in Asia Pacific—three in four (77%)—said that being an entrepreneur has created greater happiness for them ever since they started on the journey, showing that entrepreneurship can be rewarding for people in the region.

Majority of Aspiring Entrepreneurs Have Dreamt of Day They Can Quit Their Job

Among those who aspire to start their own business (aspiring entrepreneurs), two in three (67%) said that they have dreamt of the day when they can tell their boss that they are quitting their job, and for good reason, as six in 10 (62%) believe that their business idea would be revolutionary for the industry. This sentiment was even more evident in Malaysia (80%), the Philippines (78%), Thailand (74%) and Indonesia (68%), where a larger proportion of aspiring entrepreneurs are convinced that their business idea would revolutionize the industry.

Besides impacting the industry, aspiring entrepreneurs also believe that having their own business has many potential benefits. These include:

  • Flexibility in their work/life schedule (65%)
  • Potential to grow their own income (60%)
  • Ability to be their own boss (55%)
  • Allow them to pursue their passion (52%)
  • Increased job satisfaction (45%)

Entrepreneurship Remains Daunting to Most Aspiring Entrepreneurs

While the benefits associated with entrepreneurship were clear, more than eight in 10 (85%) aspiring entrepreneurs expressed that they feel overwhelmed by the prospect of starting their own business. In fact, 79 percent sometimes feel that they may never have the opportunity to start their own business.

Nonetheless, aspiring entrepreneurs in Asia Pacific remain relatively practical about their entrepreneurship dream. Close to half (47%) consider the earning potential of a new business as important as the need to follow their passion, while 33 percent of aspiring entrepreneurs consider the earning potential of a new business more important than the need to follow their passion.

This insight is echoed by their financial risk appetite, as the majority of aspiring entrepreneurs—four in five (78%)—would use their own money as a means of initial financing for their own business. Only a small number—28 percent —would use money from their family to do so, while 26 percent would ride on small business loans and 25 percent would take on personal loans to finance their new business.

Cost Biggest Barrier for Entrepreneurship in Asia Pacific

When asked about the barriers to entrepreneurship, majority of aspiring entrepreneurs (65%) cited the initial cost of starting a business as the top barrier preventing them from doing so. This was followed by:

  • Worries of the business not being successful (42%)
  • Worries of the business not being profitable (40%)
  • Lack of financing and market knowledge support (40%)

However, the majority of aspiring entrepreneurs (77%) also shared that they would be more confident in starting their own business if they had a business partners involved. This was particularly evident in Malaysia (83%), Indonesia (79%), the Philippines (76%) and Thailand (73%).

“From the study we observed that potential entrepreneurs choose their paths with great forethought,” said Conchie. “Not only does the potential business need to have a clear earning potential, it also needs to have a relatively low start-up cost for aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap of faith. Nonetheless, starting a business will always come with its own set of benefits as well as risks, hence it is important to find a good support network that can lend the right expertise and knowledge to help kickstart the entrepreneurship journey, while reducing the risks at the same time.”

The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Survey 2019 was commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition and conducted by OnePoll in April 2019, with 9,000 respondents in nine Asia Pacific markets. Featured markets included Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.