Small business owners likely have a lot on their plate these days in a number of respects, and as a consequence are likely being forced to work far more than they might have in the past. That can be problematic for those who are looking to reduce stress levels, but may also be vital in helping keep such enterprises afloat.
In all, about 37 percent of small business owners nationwide say that they're working 11 or more hours per week over what they put in at the same time last year, according to the latest annual Reinvention of Small Business Study from accounting product giant Sage. Meanwhile, slightly less than a quarter of those polled said they're working about the same number of hours. In addition, many of these owners are also taking fewer less time off, with 43 percent saying that they've either taken fewer vacation days over the last three years, and in some cases those reductions have been appreciable. In addition, 68 percent of those polled said that they are working longer days in general, and also putting in more work on the weekends.
"The latest reinvention survey reveals the true reality that many small business owners are facing: that they continue to show resilience in the face of an anemic recovery, all the while increasing their management acumen to ensure their businesses are successful," said Connie Certusi, executive vice president and general manager at Sage Small Business Solutions. "Identifying how small business owners have refined their skills and adapted their operations during the economic recovery helps Sage better understand their needs and serve as an advocate on their behalf."
Interestingly, though, nearly half of all small business owners now say some of their biggest changes related to their companies that they've made over the last five years relate to technology, the report said. About the same percentage also listed the ability to better manage their cash flows, while slightly fewer (44 percent) cited relying more heavily on mobile technology. Finally, just less than a third of those polled said they've been able to better manage their inventories.
Attitudes toward ownership holding steady?
However, these changes have not diminished what many view as the largest positive behind owning their companies is that it allows them to live the American dream, with 56 percent of owners saying so, the report said. Meanwhile, even the economic downturn wasn't enough to discourage many from running their companies regardless of their circumstances, as more than three in four said they never thought seriously about shutting down over the last five years. Of those who did consider closing, though, 38 percent cited being discouraged with how their sales were going, while another three in 10 said they were unhappy with the amount of work they now had to put into the enterprises.
On the other hand, those who were generally satisfied with ownership had varying opinions on why they did so, the report said. For instance, 38 percent said that it had always been their dream to own a company, while 24 percent felt it was an obligation to themselves or their families, and 23 percent were largely dissatisfied with their experiences in the corporate world.
Owners who are already dealing with more stress as a result of their positions within their companies might be able to lighten their burdens somewhat by finding more affordable small business insurance options. Looking for lower costs when it comes to workers' compensation or general liability insurance could end up going a long way toward improving a company's flexibility.