One in three SME owners works 50+ hours a week

Date: 12 November 2018

One in three SME owners works 50+ hours a week

More people are choosing to work for themselves than ever despite the long hours, a new survey has found.

A study of entrepreneurial Brits by Airtasker has found that one-third of small business owners work more than 50 hours a week, compared to the national average of 40 hours per week. In addition, business owners take far less holiday than employees, with 16% saying that they take no annual leave at all.

Over one-third of Brits have taken the plunge to work for themselves at some point, according to the findings - 6% of those polled described themselves as currently self-employed, 6% run their own business, 9% have been self-employed before and 17% have previously run a business.

Apart from the long hours, the study reveals that the biggest challenge for small business owners is finding skilled workers (cited by 36%). Other key challenges are:

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  • Finding and paying for suitable premises (32%);
  • Company administration and law (31%);
  • Staying motivated (28%);
  • Arranging insurance and healthcare (26%);
  • Marketing (23%);
  • Brexit (18%).

When asked what they were most unsure about when they first started up, business owners said the biggest issues were company law and finance (both cited by 23%), followed by marketing (16%), sales (15%), management (7%), networking (7%), insurance/healthcare (5%) and hiring/training (5%).

Despite concerns about finding skilled staff, the report reveals that personality is the top trait that business owners look for in new hires, followed by skills, experience, punctuality, higher education and great references.

The study has also found that there is a significant demand for products and services provided by SMEs in the UK, with 73% of Brits choosing to take their business to a small business rather than a large corporation. The findings also show that one in three shoppers (36%) is willing to spend more on products or services from local small businesses.

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