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New Survey Shows 40 Percent of Americans Have the Entrepreneurial Spirit, but Don't Know Where to Start

October 27, 2004 at 10:02 AM EDT

Have questions about starting your own small business? MoneyWi$e has answers.

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 27, 2004--The results of a new financial education survey by Capital One (NYSE:COF) and Consumer Action reveal that 40 percent of Americans dream of starting their own business, but nearly 55 percent admit that they don't know what is involved in getting a small business off the ground. With this in mind, Consumer Action and Capital One have partnered to develop a FREE guide called "Micro Business Basics: Building a Sound Financial Foundation." This tool summarizes all the aspects of starting a small business and offers a guide to various resources available to small business owners.

"Our survey showed that most aspiring entrepreneurs are at a loss when it comes to getting the basic information they need to pursue their dream," notes Ken McEldowney, Executive Director of Consumer Action. "Over half a million small businesses are launched each year and, at the same time, nearly as many close their doors for good. People interested in starting their own business need to know where they can get sound information to make their businesses successful."

The survey results showed that only 20 percent of respondents felt very confident that they are aware of and understand the various elements of starting their own small business. Those who would like to start their own business say that financial planning, bookkeeping and finding the right business are among the top challenges they face.

    According to the survey:

  • Almost 46 percent say that having the chance to "do what they want to do" is the biggest benefit to owning your own business. For more than 31 percent "being your own boss" topped the list.

  • Over 54 percent said they were interested in starting their own business but "don't know where to begin."

  • The respondents who reported that they currently own or have owned their own small business, listed understanding tax and legal issues, writing a business plan and finding support and information as the top challenges they faced.

"For many aspiring new business owners, having a good idea and an entrepreneurial spirit isn't always enough," said Diana Don Colby, Director of Financial Education for Capital One. "'Micro Business Basics' compliments the products Capital One already provides to small business owners. It is designed to give consumers the knowledge they need to start their own business by guiding them through the essentials of business planning, bookkeeping, start-up costs, legal needs and accessing Small Business Administration loans."

"Micro Business Basics" is a part of the "MoneyWi$e" series, a national financial literacy partnership between Capital One and Consumer Action. It is the first program of its kind to combine free, multilingual financial education materials with community training and seminars to give consumers at all income levels both the information and the practical assistance they need to make smart financial choices.

Consumers can get a FREE copy of "Micro Business Basics" in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese visiting OR sending a SASE with 60 cents postage to Consumer Action Micro Business, 717 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

About Capital One

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products and Capital One Auto Finance, Inc., offers automobile and other motor vehicle financing products. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had 47.2 million accounts and $75.5 billion in managed loans outstanding as of September 30, 2004. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index.

About Consumer Action

Consumer Action is a non-profit, membership-based organization founded in San Francisco in 1971. Consumer Action serves consumers nationwide by advancing consumer rights, referring consumers to complaint-handling agencies and publishing multilingual educational materials. Consumer Action also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers and annually conducts comparison surveys for consumers on credit cards, banking issues and telecommunications issues.

Survey Methodology

APCO Worldwide engaged Braun Research to survey 700 adults age 18 or over, who had thought about starting their own business, but had not as yet done so. For this study, 3661 people were screened. Of the 3661 contacted, 1450 respondents, or 39.6 percent of our sample had thought about starting their own small business. Of the 1450 respondents who had considered starting a business, 750 or 51.7 percent had already started a business and 700, or 48.3 percent had not taken that step. Those 700 respondents who had not yet started a business continued with the remaining questions. Surveys were conducted by telephone from September 23-26, 2004. The margin of error for this study is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Interviews were monitored at random.

Sampling for this study was conducted using a random digit dialing method covering the 48 states. All interviews were conducted using a computer assisted telephone system. Statistical weights were designed from current year population estimates. These weights were based on the statistical database facilities of Claritas, the leading analytical database provider of Census based statistical demographic data.

CONTACT: Capital One Financial Corporation, McLean
Libby Holman, 202-778-1028

SOURCE: Capital One Financial Corporation