One in five small business owners admit their health has suffered as a result of the work necessary to build and sustain their business, according to a survey by SwitchMyBusiness.com.
The poll of more than 250 small business owners, classed as those who employ between one and 50 people, also reveals 35% say they will consider shutting down their businesses if conditions don’t improve.
Almost half (43%) of respondents admit they are facing cashflow problems, with 31% claiming late payments are contributing to their challenges in this area. These concerns mean that more than 35% of those polled have skipped paying themselves on more than one occasion.
Subsequently 31% say they would consider taking part-time work away from their business to make ends meet.
Other big worries for small business owners include not being able to pay their utility bills (25%), affording insurance (21%) and lack of general funding (14%). A combination of these factors mean 24% of small business owners predict that, based on current bank balances, they could only survive between one and six months into the future.
Away from financial pressures, stress and general health concerns are widespread among the small business owner community. Stress (18%), turning to junk food (15%) and lack of sleep are among the top issues faced. More than one-third (38%) say they end up arguing with their partners due to the associated stresses they face when running their business.
To tackle these problems, SwitchMyBusiness has compiled a manifesto for small business ahead of the General Election – based on the wishes of the small business owners themselves.
The top three requests are a reduction in business rates, increased funding and higher tax-free allowances (see full list below).
SwitchMyBusiness.com CEO Ivan McKeever said the report shows that “the picture from UK small business owners is clear”.
“They want change from the government and they want more help. Small businesses are the forgotten younger brother of the big corporates and we want them to have a voice and get it heard,” he said.
“This is why we’ve put together the small business manifesto so as we head into election ‘promise’ season, the political parties will stand up and take notice.”
Further reading: Five ways government is supporting SME growth
Top small business worries
- Cashflow is biggest problem with 43% of those surveyed saying they are having cashflow problems
- Being paid late is the second biggest problem for small businesses with (31%) saying it is causing problems
- Utility bills are the third biggest problem for 25% of those surveyed
- Cost of insurance is an issue for 21% of those surveyed
- Workplace stress is impacting 18% of people’s businesses and its success
- Lack of funding (14%) alongside ability to pay suppliers and cost of business rates
Small business manifesto: #whatbizwant
- 34% want a reduction in business rates
- 30% want an increase in funding and grants
- 27% support higher tax free allowances for small businesses
- 25% want harsher penalties for businesses that pay them late
- 25% support an introduction of a loan scheme similar to student loans scheme with extra time before they need to pay it back
- 22% want access to affordable superfast broadband in more areas of the UK
- 21% want government help with utility bills. More help for small business in understanding, paying for and complying with HR laws and other legal regulations (21%)