Survey: Small Business Owners Working More, Vacationing Less

Jul 19th 2013
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By Jason Bramwell

Small business owners are working more hours, extending their workweeks, and taking less vacation than they were five years ago, according to the 2013 Sage Reinvention of Small Business Study, a Sage North America survey focused on how small businesses are changing the way they conduct business in a recovering economy.

"The latest reinvention survey reveals the true reality that many small business owners are facing: that they continue to show resilience in the face of an anemic recovery, all the while increasing their management acumen to ensure their businesses are successful", Connie Certusi, executive vice president and general manager of Sage Small Business Solutions, said in a written statement. "Identifying how small business owners have refined their skills and adapted their operations during the economic recovery helps Sage better understand their needs and serve as an advocate on their behalf."

The survey found that 37 percent of small business owners are working an additional eleven or more hours per week compared to 24 percent of respondents who reported the same in the 2012 reinvention survey. Sixty-eight percent are working both longer days and more weekends.

Small business owners are vacationing less as well, with 43 percent saying they have taken significantly or somewhat less downtime over the past three years.

Are these small business owners living the American dream? According to the survey, 56 percent responded "yes." When asked if they had contemplated giving up their business over the past five years during the economic downturn, 76 percent said "no." 

Moreover, small business owners indicated the main reason they have their own business is they always had a dream of running their own business (38 percent), followed by it being a family or personal obligation (24 percent) and dissatisfaction in the corporate world (23 percent).

Of the small business owners who have contemplated leaving their business, the top reasons were dissatisfaction with the progress of sales at their business (38 percent) and more work or time than they thought it would be (30 percent).

In a sign of possible optimism, 49 percent cited investing in technology as the top change or improvement made to their business over the past five years. Other top responses included better management of cash flow (48 percent), more use of mobile technology (44 percent), and better management of inventory (32 percent).

AccountingWEB Readers – Join the Discussion:

  • As a sole practitioner, are you working an additional eleven hours or more per week like those small business owners surveyed by Sage North America?
  • Has the amount of vacation time you’ve taken over the past few years decreased?
  • What has been the top change or improvement made at your firm in the past five years?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the survey:

The Sage Reinvention of Small Business Study was conducted in June by Sage North America and surveyed 347 small business owners who have fewer than 100 employees. The margin of error is +/- 5 percent with a confidence level of 95 percent.

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By Heather
Jun 25th 2015 20:11 EDT

As a contract bookkeeper my working hours have definitely increased due to clients increased workload and taking on additional clients. My vacation time had always been scheduled in regards to clients' requirements and the nbr of days per vacation had been reduced. However in this past year I was able to take an extended vacation due to remote/virtual access which I believe will be the future way to go. This will enable one to take extended vacation time or short vacations more often as long as internet is available but not necessarily reduced hours. Being virtual means I can do the work anywhere, anytime. My top change currently is investigating various methods of being accessible virtually and how it would work with my clients. In this economy having extended hours is just like saying we gotta make hay while the sun's shining.

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