Small business owners ‘compromising personal wellbeing’

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As Christmas approaches, Australian small business owners are compromising their personal wellbeing to deal with business pressures, claims Westpac.

Such pressures include cash flow, compliance and regulation, according to Westpac’s new Small Business Report, in collaboration with Deloitte.

Main findings

  • 58 per cent of small business owners said they expect to miss out on sleep because of work demands during the Christmas period.
  • 63 per cent won’t have a chance to relax and wind down over the holiday season.
  • 58 per cent will miss out on spending time with family and friends.
  • 40 per cent of business owners will receive payments from debtors later over the Christmas period. They’ll also spend eight hours per week, on average, chasing outstanding invoices to alleviate cash-flow pressures.
  • Female small business owners are more likely than male ones to make personal sacrifices for their business. In fact, 34 per cent of women are willing to sacrifice their salary to pay staff, compared with 27 per cent of men.

‘Doing it tough’

General Manager of SME Banking at Westpac Ganesh Chandrasekkar said: “We know that many small businesses are doing it tough and making significant sacrifices to keep their business running over Christmas.

“This is a timely reminder for all of us when we’re Christmas shopping to shop local and give back to the small business community because what they do is so vital to our economy.

“In addition to sacrificing their wellbeing, small businesses are spending up to one working day every week chasing invoices. Cash flow is the life blood of any business. Being able to manage it is extremely important, especially in the lead up to a busy period like Christmas.”

The big picture

Yet despite the challenges, according to Westpac’s report, more than one third of businesses feel positive about the Christmas season. Mr Chandrasekkar says the most profitable businesses are driving revenue growth through improvements and new products and services.

“We found the businesses that experienced growth in sales, profitability and productivity were those that are ‘innovation active’,” he said. “They tend to put effort into significantly improving their operations or offering new goods and services. Considering the big picture, in other words, rather than the day-to-day of running a business.”