SMEs need to prioritise their wellbeing

Business advisers, accountants, and digital software programs can help small business owners remove operational complexities and alleviate some time pressures, according to Suncorp.

Suncorp’s latest small and medium sized enterprise (SME) report found that SME owners were blurring the lines between their personal and business finances, which was impacting their wellbeing.

The report found one-in-three SMEs used personal finances to manage their cashflow, and a quarter of sole traders and new business owners, who were in operation for less than three years, had not been paid by their business in the past 12 months, and only one-in-five made personal superannuation contributions.

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Suncorp chief executive for customer platforms, Gary Dransfield, said while more than half of SMEs said it was important to keep personal and business finances separate, the report found many SMEs prioritised their business over their personal wealth and wellbeing.

“More than two-third of owners have experienced personal challenges including fatigue, financial stress, loss of motivation or relationship strain because of work-related matters,” Dransfield said.

“…Time is so valuable to small business owners, yet it’s the one thing they rarely have enough of. There are many solutions available – digital software programs, business dashboards, business advisers, accountants – which can remove operational complexities and alleviate some time pressures.”

He noted that it took at least three years for a business owner to feel confident and satisfied about their business profit generation and outlook.

“Similarly, while many new businesses don’t expect to meet their 12-month goal (84 per cent), it’s pleasing to see one-third are confident in reaching their five-year goals,” he said.

“As technology and digital capabilities continue to enhance and evolve, so do opportunities for business. We found businesses that use online or digital tools are more confident in reaching their medium-term business goals.”

The report also found that business owners were likely to be more satisfied with their work-life balance, despite one-fifth working more than 60 hours a week, when they found time to look after their health and ensured their work did not intrude on their personal life and complete their work within normal hours.

“These insights reinforce the need for small business to make time to prioritise their wellbeing and life outside their business,” Dransfield said.

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