Many SME Owners Missing Family Events Due To 'Too Much' Work

Bosses Are Struggling To Achieve A Successful Work-Life Balance


Fergal Dowling, Partner | +44 (0)121 214 5476

Owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are having to prioritise running their business over joining in special occasions such as their own birthday celebrations, highlighting the importance of having adequate support to hand when setting up a company.

This is the finding of a YouGov survey involving 1,000 SME bosses, commissioned on behalf of First Data Merchant Solutions, which revealed over one in ten failed to make their own birthday party because they were too busy focusing on their business.

Altogether, 44 per cent of respondents stated they had missed at least one special occasion due to business commitments, with 11 per cent unable to attend anniversary celebrations with a partner and almost one-fifth having to miss out on picking their children up from school.

In addition, owners of small firms have had to miss out on the weddings and funerals of loved ones and one boss even said he had been forced to sacrifice being present at the birth of his own child because of work commitments.

Overall, 39 per cent of survey respondents stated setting up their own company had been much more difficult than they expected, while 32 per cent called the experience 'exhausting'.

Particularly challenging tasks were cited as management of staff (32 per cent) and dealing with accounting and finances (25 per cent).

These results highlight the importance of SME start-ups having strong support to hand when they are initially setting up, as this could help them to achieve a better work-life balance.

General manager of First Data Merchant Solutions Raj Sond commented: "It is quite commonplace for business owners to be reluctant to hand over the reins in their absence, but running a small business should be an exciting adventure, not a barrier to leading a normal life.

"SME owners need to replicate the power of larger retailers to simplify the running of their businesses and they should look to technologies that can help them achieve this," he added.

Expert Opinion
While being an entrepreneur and setting up a small business can be hugely enjoyable and rewarding, this research shines a light on some of the challenges which can emerge as a result of the hard work involved in operating such an organisation.

"Running a small business is of course a challenge, but ensuring the right support network is in place to help you along each step of the way can help to lighten the load and ensure that you have the right expertise to hand.

"We would urge SMEs and entrepreneurs to recognise the need for legal support and it is interesting to note how lawyers can provide advice on many of the issues raised in this research – such as management and HR issues, as well as financial regulation compliance.

"Small businesses need to recognise they are not alone and understand that the right help can be vital in taking steps towards growing an organisation."
Fergal Dowling, Partner