Are small business owners devoting too much time to their work?

The vast majority of small business owners are not prepared to delegate certain tasks to their staff, instead attempting to shoulder the burden themselves.

That’s according to new research from Opus Energy, who have attempted to draw parallels between small business owners and the way elite athletes prepare for the Olympics.

The firm suggests that both have their own challenges, including the need to set goals, stay ahead of the competition and recover from setbacks.

The study suggests that business owners fall into one of five sports stars – the weightlifter, the archer, the pole vaulter, the decathlete and the sprinter – based on their traits and activities.

The types of small business owner

Weightlifter – these individuals take on the responsibility for the whole company, from finding new business to developing new strategies and managing finances.

Archer – a boss looks to the future of the company and is focused on getting there as quickly as possible with the least possible fuss. They recognise the importance of motivated and inspired staff.

Pole vaulter – someone who constantly raises the bar for the business and wants a clear strategy throughout.

Decathlete – an individual that is keen for a challenge but who blurs the lines between home and work in order to get things done.

Sprinter – someone who often takes sudden inspiration from many places, leaving them ahead of where the business is and often forgetting to look behind to see if it is keeping up.

What it means for business

Some 70% of business owners prefer to do everything for themselves, with 62% saying they monitor emails constantly and nearly half working through weekends to get stuff done.

This has impacted on their personal lives in three quarters of cases, but it can also impact on the business too.

Trying to do too much can mean that jobs are not done adequately or are forgotten, both factors that can harm a business’ reputation, reduce sales and potentially lead to a loss of finance.

Those facing financial difficultly, or those fearing for the future of their business, can consider a range of refinancing options to safeguard against such a threat.

Internal office relationships have also suffered due to approaches taken by SME owners, as less communication is taking place, which is driving down engagement as well.

Given that SME owners said they view the company reputation and their own success as key factors, it is perhaps why so many fall under the ‘weightlifters’ title, even if it doesn’t always mean the best results.

By Phil Smith

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