New research released by NRMA Business Insurance shows the majority of small business owners believe the emotional benefits of running their own business outweigh the financial return.

The NRMA Insurance Business Owner Sentiment Study (BOSS) surveyed more than 1,000 small business owners, and found that being the boss (66 percent), work flexibility (63 percent) and the sense of achievement (52 percent) were all rated above the financial rewards (24 percent) of owning a business.

However, the research revealed there is little down time for small business owners with almost half (48 percent) admitting to losing sleep at night thinking about work. The most common concerns were managing cash flow (42 percent), balancing their professional and personal life (33 percent) and managing financial responsibilities (30 percent).

“The majority of small business owners are enjoying the flexibility and autonomy of managing their own business with more than 85 percent telling us they would be willing to do it all over again,” said Craig Wigginton, spokesperson for NRMA Business Insurance.

“However, being accountable for running a business and managing employees can be stressful and time-consuming for even the most seasoned business owner, particularly when professional demands begin to impact personal wellbeing.”

The study highlights that owning your own business can come with a high personal toll with:

  • one in three small business owners working more than 50 hours a week;
  • thirty-seven percent taking less than five days’ annual leave each year and 61 percent taking less than ten;
  • forty-three percent having to miss an important family event because of work;
  • over a third (37 percent) saying their business has put a strain on their relationships with family and friends.

Those operating hospitality businesses are most likely to:

  • Work more than 60 hours in an average week (18 percent compared to the average of 11 percent)
  • Say they’ve missed an important family event in the past  three months because of work (63 percent compared to 43 percent)
  • Say that their work has placed a strain on their personal relationships (45 percent compared to 37 percent)
  • Have been kept up at night thinking about their business (59 percent compared to 48 percent)
  • Say they go to a ‘mentor’ for business advice (25 percent compared to 12 percent)
  • Say they take less than one week of annual leave each year (51 percent compared to 37 percent more generally).
  • Want help with their marketing and communications (54 percent vs 37 percent generally). The next most important area they wish they had more help with is accounting, finance and taxation (48 percent).

Managing cash flow and financial responsibilities were the top stressors for the hospitality industry, with balancing professional and personal life and working long hours the next the second and third biggest causes of stress.

However, small business owners in the hospitality sector rate the being their own boss (63 percent), the sense of achievement it provides (49 percent) and the work itself (47 percent), and as the best parts of running their own business.

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