There are a multitude of blessings that come with running your own small business. You’re very much your own boss, which can be an extremely liberating and motivation experience, but at the same time you’re faced with a workload that means for many, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
Recent research conducted by small business lender Everline in conjunction with the Centre for Economic and Business Research, has lifted the veil on the time pressures facing 1,000 of the UK’s small business owners.
Four out of five work ‘overtime’
The term overtime doesn’t really apply to small business owners and decision makers. The majority will stay at work until they can return home with a clear conscience. However, based on a typical forty hour week, the study has revealed that four out of five worked overtime in October, while 18 percent had worked at least 60 additional hours across the month. Just over 50 percent also said they also work on weekends and bank holidays.
The value of the additional time the UK’s small business owners are spending at work has been estimated to be worth 22billion a year to the national economy, which equates to one percent of GDP.
What about productivity?
Despite the admirable work ethic, some business experts believe this time could be better spent elsewhere. Russell Gould, managing director of Everline, said: “We looked at the issues that are important to business owners. We found that finance is key. Technology is key. And acquiring customers is key. But we also found that decision makers often don’t have enough time to do all the things they need to do”.
He argues that some business owners are spending their time on day-to-day activities such as chasing payments and managing the sales operation, when they should be focusing on the bigger picture. This granular detail can result in their failure to identify risks and miss out on market opportunities in the medium to long term.
And this is where technology can play such a significant part. It has the ability to take the pressure off business owners, allowing them to take control and manage the things that do matter. The type of business that you run could determine which technology you decide to implement. For example, if you are a field service provider who specializes in lawn care or pest control, you may find software from somewhere like FieldRoutes beneficial to your needs. If not, there is a wide array of other alternatives for you to choose from.
Is there a solution?
The research does shed some light on a potential short-term solution. A common fault of new business owners is caring too much, and failing to trust employees to perform even routine tasks. The survey found one in four business leaders were working overtime precisely for this reason: they didn’t trust their staff to do the job properly.
Once business owners can escape this understandable psychological trap, they will then be able to spend more time making the strategic decisions that can grow their business. Of course, it can be difficult for some businesses to let their employees do all of the work, but that’s what they’re there for. Employees need to be trusted to complete projects for the business, allowing the owner to get on with other work. Perhaps the business owner could consider investing in project scheduling software to keep track of projects, without having to worry about them. That could be really helpful for those managers who like to keep an eye on projects.
As a small business owner, how many hours a week do you work? Which business operations demand the lion’s share of your time? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.