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Survey shows the region's business owners enjoy autonomy of running their own business - but at the cost of time

By: Marketing Team Date: 15 February 2017

Entrepreneurs in Norfolk love the flexibility and control that running their own business gives them – but that comes at the cost of free time to spend with the family, holidays away from their business, and time for themselves.

That is the conclusion of a new work/life balance survey carried out by Lovewell Blake among small business owners.

The research found that business owners and entrepreneurs work more than 45 hours a week on average, with nearly a third (32%) spending more than 50 hours every week in their business. The survey also found that just under half (46%) took fewer than the 20 days statutory minimum holiday in the past 12 months – with more than three-quarters (77%) admitting to working even on those rare days off.

More than a quarter of those polled said they had missed a family occasion such as a birthday, wedding or even funeral because they were working, with 27% saying they had given up part or all of their social life in order to make their business work.

Despite this, the majority (68%) of those surveyed said they enjoyed the control that running their business gave them, and on average they said that they felt just 11% less positive at the start of the working week as they did on Friday evening.

“These figures show that running your own business remains a rewarding and positive thing to do,” said Murray Graham, partner at Lovewell Blake. “The region’s business owners feel optimistic about what they do – but they are almost all giving more time to their businesses than they want to, at the cost of their home, social and family lives.

“Lack of time and red tape are identified as the two worst aspects of running your own business, so it is important that those working for themselves embrace the technology which is out there to help them free up more time.

“Unsurprisingly, those surveyed rated their happiness at 4.24 out of five on a Friday evening; encouragingly, that rating only slipped to 3.76 – still pretty high – on a Sunday evening, traditionally the lowest ebb of happiness for those working. That shows that running your own business remains a rewarding and fulfilling choice for many.”

Key points from the survey include:
  • entrepreneurs work 45.14 hours a week on average, with 70 hours being the longest working week quoted.
  • they take an average of 22.6 days holiday each year, although one respondent admitted to taking just two days off in the past 12 months.
  • 68% have missed out on things because they were working, with family events and social commitments topping the list of things missed.
  • keeping fit and healthy, spending more time with family, resting, and time for themselves were at the top of the list of things entrepreneurs wished they had more time for.
  • lack of time (27%) topped the list of ‘worst things’ about running a business, with red tape (18%) and having to take responsibility (18%) coming next.

Many small businesses are embracing new technology to make a real positive impact on their work/life balance. Last year Lovewell Blake launched MyLB, an innovative and fully integrated cloud-based accounting service, backed by face to face advice, which is designed to combine freedom from the administration of running the business with expert, face to face financial business advice when needed.

The full results of the survey can be found here.
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