New research shows how much personal cash owners have pumped into their business during the pandemic

Sad at work

New research from QuickBooks reveals the range of personal sacrifices small business owners have taken just to keep their businesses afloat and employees in roles, including digging deep into their own savings.

With over half (58%) of the small businesses (1-10 employees) surveyed unable to trade at some point in the past year, small business owners spent an average of £7,000 out of their personal savings to keep their staff on payroll and their business going.

The new study highlights that a third (33%) of small business owners gave up their own salaries to keep employees on during the pandemic, while nearly half (46%) gave up holidays, 41% gave up bonuses, and 30% gave up their dividends.

The personal burden on these small business owners has not just been restricted to financial sacrifice. Owners have had to take action to retain their staff, with 57% having to work extra hours or on the weekend to keep on top of changes to payroll regulations, such as the furlough scheme. Of these, 50% have spent more than eight working days in the past year[1] learning about the changing regulations to be able to put them into practice.

Carina Lepore, winner of The Apprentice 2019 and owner of South London bakery Dough Bakehouse, comments: “I know first-hand the human impact of payroll – not being able to pay my staff could affect someone’s ability to pay their rent or mortgage. The sense of responsibility is huge.

“Through lockdown, we managed to pivot quickly through digital to takeaway which allowed us to stay open and trading, but like most other small businesses we were hit by the pandemic. To keep all my staff on I had to make a number of personal sacrifices, but I wanted to do this as my staff are my priority.”