Nearly half of SME owners put work ahead of home life

Nearly half of small business owners are putting work commitments ahead of family life, according to a new YouGov survey.


The study, commissioned BY First Data Merchant Solutions, asked more than 1,000 owners and decision makers and found 44% had missed a personal occasion due to work.


One in ten even admitted missing their own birthday celebrations as they were too busy working and running the business, showcasing the need to find a good work/home balance.


The results of that aspect of the study conflict with the view that 44% of owners set up in order to have more flexible working hours – something that does not appear to be the case.


Nearly a fifth of small business owners said they missed picking their children up from school and one in ten said they missed the wedding of a friend or relative due to work.


The most extreme cases saw them missing funerals and family memorials, while one owner even missed the birth of his child as he was too busy working.


A major factor in people working longer than they were planning could be due to running the business being more difficult than they anticipated – named by 39% of respondents.


Two fifths said running a small business was ‘time consuming’ while 32% described it as ‘exhausting’ – undoubtedly factors in the need to work longer days.


Managing staff and finances were listed as two particular issues, with the latter of considerable importance for small companies when finances are often limited.


A failure to properly track spending could leave a firm facing company administration, leaving owners with little to show for their hard work.


However, careful management of staff and keeping a watchful eye on finances can reduce the risks of this occurring and ensure that a business is built on firm foundations.


While wanting to be in control of a business is a common occurrence, delegating tasks to others can both benefit the business and free-up time for a suitable work/life balance.


By Phil Smith


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