Running your own business is not an easy task. There are many upsides, too, like building capital, working for yourself, taking charge, etc. However, the reality is not that alluring. As everyone knows, small business owners work extremely hard, but how much time they devote to their business may appeal to some people.
According to a New York Enterprise Report survey, small business owners work much harder than their employees. It also found that about 33% of such business owners stated working over 50 hours per week. This is not the only study reporting such data. Other studies, like one conducted by Gallup, also found that some small business owners worked over 60 hours a week.
It is not only about the hours spent working on expanding the business, but small business owners also work under more pressure. Even if they have hired regular employees, they still work twice as much as they feel that those employees’ livelihoods depend on them. If they don’t have any, they worry because small businesses generally have minimum resources to rely on.
This article covers some aspects of owning a small business, challenges faced by small business owners, and the efforts put and sacrifices made by them. The last section mentions a few commonly asked questions.
Challenges small business owners tackle
A majority of small business owners believe that the stress of ownership is worse than what they imagined. According to them, it is rewarding but also stressful. The long hours put by them to make their business grow also impacts other parts of their life. Like family time, love life, and vacations.
According to a study conducted by OnDeck, about 57% of small business owners find the time to go on vacations and that vacation time short, a lot less than the conventional two weeks. But it is all not so bad as vacation time increases once you’ve been in business for long and if you have more trustworthy employees that can take care of work in your absence.
Millennials are business owners in the making
Such long working hours don’t put off the millennials. A survey recently conducted by Bentley University found that 66% of millennials aim to set up a business independently. Millennials tend to value ownership along with other benefits like flexible work hours, regular raises, free weekends, etc.
Some millennials also believe that work-life balance is important to their success. Some believe that supportive spouses/ friends are essential, along with helpful financial partners and employees. Owning a small business is tough and is more of a long walk than a quick run. It demands time and efforts.
Delegating is one of the ways small or new business owners might be able to save up on time. A couple of studies have found out that 70% of small business owners prefer to do everything on their own. They prefer delegating for various reasons; they might feel they are more capable of performing the task. They might feel their employees are not that skilled, lack the experience required, and prefer accomplishing the tasks themselves.
When it comes to small businesses, delegating is a choice. You can plan your business strategy or growth on your own or consult other staff members.
Small business owners need to make a few sacrifices each year, letting go of what most of us take for granted. Such as meals with family, no vacation time, visits to the doctor, etc. Some of the key personal sacrifices are listed as follows:
- Many of them need to work more than 50 hours per week, while some may even work on the weekends.
- A majority of them also work on essential holidays like Diwali, Independence Day, Christmas.
- More than half only get time to eat one meal at home daily.
- Most small business owners miss other important family events like weddings, social events and hobbies because they are too focused on growing their business.
- Most of them don’t get enough time to take a vacation or break from work. If they go on a vacation, more than 75% still work, check emails, etc.
Beyond the personal sacrifices small business owners make with family time, self-care time and wellness, they also tackle financial challenges. A study found out that more than half of small business owners use personal savings to pay for their business expenses. It is interesting to note that using personal savings to kickstart a business is the most common among millennials.
Generally, small business owners are extremely committed to doing what it takes to make their business grow. When they make profits, they are most likely to save it or put it back into their business instead of pampering themselves or spending on other things.
Most immediately reinvest in the business, some savings for retirement, and others set aside for personal or family investments.
Despite long hours, most small business owners do not have a complaining attitude. The extra workload is the toughest part of owning and starting a new business. However, many believe that owning a business is a great challenge that has helped them grow financially and otherwise.
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Q. Do entrepreneurs follow a 40-hour work week?
Ans. Some entrepreneurs work 40 hours or more every week, while other small business owners believe you should work at least 60 hours per week to find success. Some successful entrepreneurs believe that in the beginning, it is important to work 14-18 hours per day on your business or startup.
Even though affluent business owners believe that substantial time should be devoted to your business for its growth, it’s a big assumption that every successful business owner out there spends the majority of their week working on their business.
Before starting up on your own, it is important to know that being an entrepreneur demands a lot of time, efforts, giving up sleep, family time, and hobbies. You may need to make several sacrifices, but giving up things that make you happy and relaxed for an entire year is an easy way to burn out.
Q. Can working long hours be detrimental to your well being?
Ans. Research indicates that working long can take a toll on your health and well being. While successful business owners may influence you to work at least 60 hours per week, it can be detrimental to your productivity. There is no fixed answer for how many hours you should spend on your work on a daily or weekly basis, as it depends on a number of factors.
But it’s important to take care of your physical and mental health, instead of trying to emulate other entrepreneurs or follow what someone says on social media.
Q. How do I manage my time as a small business owner?
Ans. There are a number of ways you can manage time as a small business owner. One of the best time management strategies when it comes to setting up a schedule is to group tasks. Organise similar activities together.
Form a proper schedule for the week and follow it. There are plenty of ready-made templates available online which you can access and fill in to catalogue your days. Learn to consciously focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions.
Another great time management technique that many small business owners find useful is time blocking. It refers to the practice of dividing your work into dedicated sections of time, as opposed to multitasking. The idea is that by concentrating on one task at a time, you can finish it more quickly and it leads to higher quality results.
Q. How can I achieve work-life balance?
Ans. You should be aware that work-life balance carries different meanings for different people. You must define what integration means to you and check the balance in your life. Take charge by setting up short-term goals and clear boundaries.
Make a schedule and save time for each activity that you value and follow it. Let others know where you stand in terms of work by talking to major stakeholders. Get rid of time wasters and give time to your health and loved ones. The less stressed out you are, the more your business will thrive.