Melissophobia is the fear of bees; blennophobia is the fear of slime; and chorophobia is the fear of dancing. In fact, from A to Z, clinical names for numerous fears exist.
In the 2010-2012 editions of Amway’s Entrepreneurship Report, the “fear of failure” was consistently among the highest obstacles to becoming self-employed. We believe this fear leads to a high gap between people who can imagine starting their own business and those who actually do.
So in our 2013 report, we took a closer look. We wanted to know: Did the fear exist because people did not believe in their abilities, their networks and ideas? Or because they did not feel supported by their environment?
Among the polled countries worldwide, 41 percent of respondents feared “financial burdens up to bankruptcy.” For 31 percent, “the economic crisis” turned out to be a considerable obstacle (even truer in the European Union). Non-financial fears included disappointing one’s family, loss of reputation, and and not being unable to handle the high level of responsibility.
The percentage of respondents who are fearful of starting an enterprise is represented below for six of the 24 countries studied.
These fears may not have clinical names, but at Amway we seek to “treat” them with a business model that is low-risk, low-cost and has built-in mentorship and support. And fear not, if it doesn’t meet a person’s expectations, it has a money-back guarantee.
According to the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, there is a clear answer to what motivates people toward entrepreneurship: Independence from an employer is a more important driver than income.
Amway works in more than 100 countries around the world to establish or maintain cultures and regulatory environments that value and support entrepreneurship. And most importantly, we do this by offering would-be entrepreneurs a low cost, low risk way to get one step closer to the independence they crave.
Open a closet or cupboard door in many homes around the world and odds are you’ll find at least one product from General Mills, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, L.L. Bean or Fisher Price. And the leaders of these companies have much to teach us: about transformation, innovation, big data, culture, philanthropy and purpose.
That’s why Robert Reiss, Forbes columnist and longtime host of The CEO Show, brings these leaders on air, and asks them the tough questions about their personal management styles, how they have reinvented their industries, and how to develop best practices while upholding their own values. His show airs weekly and is syndicated in full or in segments in 85 U.S. cities.
The recent interview that Reiss did with Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel and Amway President Doug DeVos went live on the show’s website last week. It was an excellent opportunity to amplify Amway’s story, share the entrepreneurial spirit and drive behind direct selling, and have an important conversation about the role of entrepreneurs — people like our Amway Business Owners — in healthy, growing economies.
In the final minutes of the interview, Reiss asks both men for the advice they have for anyone considering becoming an entrepreneur. Said Steve, “You have to just jump in and try something. It doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t matter. Just keep trying.” Doug added, “Get connected with mentors and other people who’ve done it. . . everyone thinks it’s about money. It’s not. It’s about people and it’s about connecting with others who can give you encouragement. . . ”
Courage and coaching. To us, that sounds about right.
Entrepreneurship is well-liked in Great Britain, especially among the young and educated.
That’s according to the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report, which studied views and attitudes toward entrepreneurship and self-employment in 24 countries.
Here are some results from Great Britain:
- On average, almost 8 out of 10 respondents, or 77%, have a positive attitude toward self-employment. That’s a boost from last year’s 75% and about 7% higher than the international average.
- Among 18- to 24-year-olds the number grows to 86%. Add a university degree to that group and the number jumps to 91%.
- On the whole, 88% of the respondents with a college degree report positive feelings toward entrepreneurship. Views dropped among those without a degree to 74%, but that’s still higher than the international average in that group — 67%
So, why do those in Great Britain like the idea of starting a business? Well, it’s not about the money. “Second income prospects” was one of the least important reasons they would consider it. The highest ranked reason was “independence from an employer and being one’s own boss.” The second most appealing reason was “self-fulfillment and possibility to realize own ideas.”
Question asked: In your opinion, which of the following aspects appeal to you as reasons to start up your own business?
When placing Japan’s results side by side with those of the 23 other countries studied in the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), some of the most glaring cultural differences about entrepreneurship become evident.
Others have reported on Japan’s hesitancy to embrace entrepeneurs, who have been viewed as self-promoting in a culture that values group harmony over individual expression. In addition, in Japanese culture, business failure quickly evolves into personal and societal shame, which is in deep contrast to a country like the United States, where failure is often seen as a necessary precursor to success.
The AGER data does not contrast these conventional beliefs, but gives insight into what could make Japan’s would-be entrepreneurs more risk-tolerant. We learned that:
- Only 17% of Japanese respondents ranked “independence from an employer” as an important consideration for starting their own business. For the rest of the world, that number was 43% and consistently one of the highest ranking reasons.
- In Japan, fear of failing with one’s own enterprise was the most prevalent in the world. More than nine out of ten respondents (94%) saw fear to failure as an obstacle to starting a business. This is 24% more than the international average.
- When participants in Japan were asked what would encourage them to start a business, half said that finding “mentoring and support through business networks” would. This number is twice as high as the international average (24%).
Thankfully, mentoring and support is becoming more prevalant in this nation where career success has traditionally been defined too narrowly to include entrepreneurship. And on the horizon: more entrepreneurial courses offered by top Japanese universities.
We look forward to following Japan’s emerging entrepreneurial culture in the coming years – and doing all that we can to stimulate it.
In just three months, Moscow will play host to the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Congress, an event with goals that are very much aligned to that of our recently released Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER), including:
• To exchange ideas favorable to entrepreneurship.
• To show entrepreneurs how collaborative communities can help them launch and scale.
• To increase global recognition of entrepreneurs for the important role they play in society.
In fact, Russia was one of 24 countries we studied, and our findings could be useful in shaping the nation’s policy, education and image-building for entrepreneurship. For example, we learned that positive attitudes toward self-employment in Russia are declining, down from 73% positive in 2012 to 65% in 2013. And that the Ural and Northwest regions were nearly 20 points lower in positivity than in Siberia and the South.
Alarmingly few females in Russia said they could imagine starting their own business (26%), which is surprising given the independence and mobility of Russian women.
This warrants discussion during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress and beyond about how to strengthen and nurture women’s entrepreneurial spirit and meet the particular needs of would-be female entrepreneurs.
We’re committed to these conversations, to the actions that can come as a result, and most of all, to our amazing Amway Russia Business Owners – people such as Mark and Marina Kaplun and Vladimir and Elena Sidorov. They stay the course, encourage others to define themselves through entrepreneurship and, along with other direct sellers in Russia, help build better economies and communities.
The concept of ”a fair go” is uniquely Australian. There, the meaning is deeper than just an opportunity or a chance. It’s part of the country’s value system.
Maybe that’s behind the results found when we studied Australia as part of the 2013 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report.
Australia ranked third — behind only Finland and Denmark — with the most positive attitude toward self-employment. In fact, positivity down under is 14% more than the international average. Half of Australians can imaging starting their own business.
Australians are also fearless. While 70% of global respondents cited fear of failure as an obstacle to their own entrepreneurship, only 53% of Australians felt the same.
It makes sense given the entrepreneurial endeavors under Australia’s belt — like the world’s first notepads and pacemakers, penicillin, black box flight recorders and anti-counterfeit technology. Australia’s history of bringing ideas to life is impressive — as is its future with 83% of Millennials stating they would like to be self-employed.
Or, as one Aussie publication worded its headline about the study: “Go get ‘em attitude reigns supreme.”
According to Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel, business leaders, policy makers, academics and experts share an important responsibility: to eliminate unnecessary regulations, taxes and other barriers in order to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit.
Van Andel wrote this opinion piece for CNBC and provided a similar view to the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He believes that in order for individual entrepreneurs to flourish and prosper, more business training and entrepreneurship education resources should be available.
His comments were prompted by the findings of the Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report released this past November. The report, developed in partnership with the Entrepreneurship Center at University of Munich and GfK Global Research, helped open a global dialogue on fostering the entrepreneurial mindset, something that Van Andel certainly knows a thing or two about.
Photo: Van Andel presents Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report findings at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Ian Wagreich / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Since being named chairman of the United States Chamber of Commerce in June, Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel has shared lunch with the new president of South Korea and addressed the leaders of the top 100 U.S. chambers.
On a recent trip to China, he met with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, several other government officials, top media and distributor leaders.
The theme has been similar in all of these meetings: Our potential is great if we remain true to our values, show leadership and embrace innovation.
“Dad and Rich believed people have an innate desire to make their lives better,” Van Andel said. “And they believed that by empowering others, people would work to reach their greatest potential. At Amway, we offer people the opportunity to own their own business … to pursue a level of success they desire.
“And with commitment and hard work, they can change their lives. Improving people’s lives has been our vision since the beginning. And we believe that ultimately, it’s why Amway’s been so successful.”
It’s a message Van Andel will continue share all over the world as he travels this next year as chairman of both Amway and the U.S. Chamber. We think it has potential – do you agree?
Written by Andrea Clark
“It’s all about the potential of the people,” Amway President Doug DeVos told a regional audience as Amway was recognized this week as one of the best West Michigan companies providing leadership opportunities for women.
“We believe people are the greatest resource that any company or country will ever have. Seeing potential in everyone is the message we have to keep sharing.”
Since the company’s earliest days, values embracing inclusion and diversity of opportunity have been an essential part of the company’s growth, DeVos said. Hearing different voices and ideas has enabled stronger global expansion and helped manage change and opportunity.
For example, shortly after Amway China opened its doors, the Chinese government decided to ban direct selling. DeVos said the wisdom and experience of Amway China president Eva Cheng was instrumental in helping the company become part of the long-term solution and, as a result of her collaborative ideas, Amway has become a leader in China.
DeVos went on to say that his dad and fellow Amway founder Jay Van Andel progressively believed everyone could do everything. That’s how the business got its start – and continues to succeed.
“I always heard Dad tell people: You can do it. You have potential. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to doing,” he continued.
As it grows, the company continues to look for ways to diversify. Amway Chief Marketing Officer Candace Matthews is the executive sponsor of the Women’s Inclusion Network, one of three networks Amway has launched through its diversity and inclusion office. These inclusion groups help employees network with people of similar backgrounds and expose them to developmental and growth opportunities. DeVos cited the development of women as a positive outcome of robust talent development systems. Today more than 31% of global directors at Amway are female.
“The diversity of our team helps strengthen the development of our products, our business plan and our service,” DeVos said. “When helping develop talent, it’s both an art and a science to help people grow and to help them find new opportunities.”
Written by Dalin Clark.