The majority of entrepreneurs started their own business because of a passion for their idea and a desire to be their own boss rather than the pursuit of wealth.

That's according to a survey by VentureNavigator, which found that 41.4% went into business because they were passionate about their idea and 39.7% did so because they wanted the freedom that comes with being their own boss. Financial reward was the reason for just 6.9% of respondents.

The poll revealed the main barriers to starting up, with a lack of money to invest the biggest obstacle, cited by 44% of respondents. The fear of failure was next, with 19%.

"Despite the economic barriers put in the way of small businesses and start-ups, it is good to see that the British entrepreneurial spirit is not dead," said Janice Pittis, project director at VentureNavigator.

"Passion is such an important driver as there is much hardship to be endured during the early phases. Passion by itself, however, is not enough.

There must be adequate business acumen to turn an idea into a viable business opportunity and this is where entrepreneurs need help from experts and their peers

"There must be adequate business acumen to turn an idea into a viable business opportunity and this is where entrepreneurs need help from experts and their peers who have done it themselves and can advise."

The most common source of advice when starting up is the internet, which was used by 38.9%, followed by a local enterprise agency (23.9%) and friends and family (15%).

The areas where entrepreneurs need the most guidance are sales and marketing (25.7%), turning an idea into reality (24.8%) and business planning (19.5%).

Alarmingly, one area where entrepreneurs did not seek advice was in protecting their intellectual property. "Getting good intellectual property protection is crucial for start-up businesses," said Matthew Dixon, spokesperson for the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.

"An entrepreneur who is developing an innovative product or business model needs to be able to keep copycats and ‘me-too' operators at bay. Without strong protection the investment in the business can be at risk and that's why getting good advice at an early stage is so important."