SYDNEY, Dec 8, 2016
Small business owners are constantly racing against the clock, sacrificing time with friends and family, and even their health, in order to run their business, a new survey has found.
The Take Back Your Time survey, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by small business lender OnDeck, asked 300 small business owners about their time management. It found that many are making sacrifices in order to be their own boss: 40% say they have little social life, 28% say they work long hours and 22% even admit to neglecting their health, diet and fitness.
In fact, nine out of ten business owners (89%) agree that to be a business owner, ‘you have to be exceptional at time management’.
But even so, the business takes a toll on their time, as 1 in 2 believe that work-life balance is an illusion for business owners. This is borne out by their holiday plans: 1 in 5 won’t be taking a break this summer, while a further 1 in 4 will take only the public holidays or a few days off.
“There are many rewarding things about running your own business,” said Cameron Poolman, CEO of OnDeck, “However, there are downsides as well. Long hours, red tape and lots of paperwork mean that many don’t feel like they have time to develop their business.”
In fact, 1 in 2 business owners wish they had more time to spend on growing their business, and the bigger the business, the harder it is: 62% of owners with more than $100K annual revenue face this challenge.
One of the areas which suffers because of the time-crunch, is accessing funding for the business.
“It’s unsurprising that applying to banks for a business loan is low on the priority list for many. Research by OnDeck’s partner MYOB has found that it takes on average 20 hours to apply for a loan* – time that many small businesses just don’t have.
“Since OnDeck launched in Australia a year ago, I’ve been meeting our customers every week. The feedback about our application process is that it’s much faster and easier than with traditional lenders. They’re pleasantly surprised that there is another way to access funding that doesn’t require an armful of paperwork and a long wait to hear back,” Mr Poolman said.
The survey also found that administration is the biggest drain on the time of small business owners – cited by 47% as a top time-sink.
“Small business owners want to spend more time with the people they care about, but administration eats into that time significantly.
“Therefore, anything we can do to reduce that burden is good for small business. Whether it’s the government cutting red tape or making funding fast and easy, there are plenty of ways we can support the people who create around 70% of employment in this country,” Mr Poolman said.
Asked what they would do given another 20 hours of time, small business owners were clear about their priorities: the most popular option is to spend it with friends and family (40%), followed by taking a holiday (19%). Some would pursue a hobby (12%) or invest the time in the business (8%); however, others were stumped by the question, with 13% unsure.
*Research for MYOB undertaken in August 2015 by Gundabluey found that the average time taken to apply for a small business loan was 20 hours