Half of SME owners are stressed but they’re also happier

Half of small business owners in the UK are more stressed now than they were in previous jobs, a new survey has revealed. The study, commissioned by Instantprint, found that worries and work commitments could lead to a lack of sleep and missed medical appointments but SME owners were happier owning their own businesses.


The Small Business Census aimed to find out about SME owners’ well-being in relation to areas such as stress and work-life balance. It found that more than 50% of respondents reported being more stressed now they had their own businesses. More than 20% said they had risked their health by missing a medical appointment and just more than one in eight admitted to being so stressed that they only got three to four hours sleep a night.


The survey suggested a gender divide between male and female business owners. Male SME owners worked an average of 45 hours per week, 10 more than their female counterparts, while 60% of men admitted to being stressed compared to 43% of women.


The primary reason for stress given by male respondents was the worry that their business would not succeed (listed by 33%) while 57% of female business owners said they were most worried about finances. Any SME owners with serious worries about finances or other issues might want to consider taking business turnaround advice before the situation slides any further.


The top three sacrifices male SME owners had made in setting up their businesses were family time (52%), holidays (48%) and personal leisure time (44%). Women listed their top sacrifices as a loss of income (46%), holidays (41%) and family time (38%).


Despite the stresses however, 75% of all respondents said they were happier owning their own businesses and 70% said they would never go back to working for somebody else. More than two thirds (68%) said they had a good work-life balance and more than half of business owners said they had gained more self-confidence since starting their businesses.


By Phil Smith


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