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Business owners are pushed to breaking point, says new survey

The 29% figure is below the national average of 35% but business owners in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire are still losing motivation more than is desirable, with financial worries their main source of stress.

The research finds that this is having a significant impact on their personal lives, including their work-life balance, health and wellbeing and relationships.

There are also significant regional differences in the findings. London and South East and Welsh (45%) business owners are the most likely to lose motivation at least once a year, while North East (27%) and North West (24%) business owners are the least likely to experience this sapping of motivation.  

Nearly two thirds of local business owners identify financial worries and frustration about not getting enough done as top sources of stress and a drain on their motivation, followed by peaks and troughs in the volume of work (57%).

However, psychological research which assesses the implicit responses of business owners reveals that money can also be a powerful positive influence, scoring strong positive agreement (64 out of 100) that it is the biggest motivating factor. This rises to 85 out of 100 for the over 50s.

Haines Watts regional managing partner Chris Timms said: “Our research shows that money is one of the most common reasons why business owners find themselves in a spiral of stress, which can dampen their motivation.

“Part of this stems from business owners attempting to tackle financial difficulties, such as cash flow problems, growing pains and over-expansion, as they arise rather than planning for them in advance.

“But it does not have to be this way. Business owners need to create time to step back and plan for the future. This often starts with short-, medium- and long-term business planning and then building a strong management team to help deliver the plan and keep the wheels turning.”

Business owners in Central England are working long hours to keep their enterprises going, adding to this undulating stress. A mere 7% say their work-life balance is tipped towards life, while over half (54%) say it goes the other way.

The majority of business owners admit they sometimes “wish they were doing something else” (71 out of 100). This love-hate relationship with their job is damaging the health and wellbeing of UK business owners and their personal relationships.

Running a business is even more detrimental to mental health (70 out of 100) than it is to physical health (60 out of 100). Business owners admit they find their position “emotionally exhausting” (73 out of 100), rising to 81 out of 100 for men.

Over half of local business owners reveal that the relationships with their partner (57%) and children (57%) have also suffered as a result of running a company.

Rekindling the love

WHEN it comes to rekindling local business owners’ love for running their company, personal drive and customers trump everything else.

Over two thirds (71%) of business owners in the region say their own personal drive and customers remotivate them, while 67% cite their friends as a key remotivating factor.

Mr Timms said: “No amount of money is worth the cost of being pushed to breaking point, and yet business owners often do not know where to turn for help. Personal drive is a key motivator for those pushed to the brink, but it is also crucial for business owners to build a wider network for support so they don’t become over reliant on themselves.

“Being able to discuss concerns and share advice with like-minded people can be a real life saver for business owners overshadowed by complex challenges and who, as a result, lack the will to go on.”  

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