What personal sacrifices do British entrepreneurs make in the name of business?

Employment & Skills | Surveys

New research from Yorkshire Bank, part of CYBG plc, has revealed the sacrifices that British business owners make for the success of their company.

The survey findings show that around one in five report experiencing detrimental effects on their health from giving up exercise (16%) or healthy eating (20%) as they grow their business. A quarter (25%) of small business owners across the UK sacrifice time with friends and family

The findings come from the second wave of data released from a unique piece of research from Yorkshire Bank – Expect More – which takes into account the opinions of 2,000 small business owners and entrepreneurs in the UK’s 10 largest cities and across a range of sectors. The research compares insights into work-life balance, growth ambitions, innovation, dynamism and diversity.

The research identifies key regional differences and shows Manchester is home to the UK’s most physically active business owners. Just under 60% of Mancunian entrepreneurs find the time to exercise several times a week. Business owners in Bristol (57%), Edinburgh, Glasgow and London (56%) closely follow.

Across the country, 30% of UK business owners have sacrificed their work-life balance and 37% admit to never enjoying a full weekend. The North, in particular, has 39% of business owners working a six-day week or more.

Nationally, 42% of those surveyed said they work more than nine hours a day (which is approximately 1.5 hours longer than the average working day). Totalling up those extra hours over the course of a working week equates to roughly one whole extra day of work – that’s the equivalent of a six-day week.

Interestingly, there is a significant gap between perception and reality here: in Birmingham, 54% of SME bosses report working more than 9 hours, but only 34% said they work six days a week or more, indicating that many vastly underestimate how much time they actually give up to run operations, or that working more than 9 hours a day is simply the norm. In Liverpool, 50% report working 10 hours or more and 13% of those admit to regularly working 12 hour days.

Gavin Opperman, Group Banking Business Director, CYBG, said: ‘’The research shows the difficulties that many small business owners across the UK face and touches on some of the sacrifices they make for the success of their business, sometimes at the detriment to their own health. In the first wave of data released from the research, it was revealed that 75% of business owners practice mindfulness techniques to help manage their stress. While this is incredibly encouraging, making sure you look after your physical health is just as important.

“Work-life balance as a concept has gained momentum due to changes and developments seen in the working world, including the increased use of technology, the need for speed and on-demand service. As a result of this, small business owners can feel the pressure more than most. Working long hours and extra days can easily become the norm, but finding the right balance to help achieve your goals for your business, and manage the other important parts of your life are key to all-round success and wellbeing.’’

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