I was intrigued by a recent survey by Yorkshire Bank into the state of mind of business owners up and down the UK.
According to the research, only 58% of small business owners classify themselves as happy in their day-to-day working lives and 85% are stressed to some level at work.
The ‘always on’ culture that is part and parcel of the life of an entrepreneur leads to 25% sacrificing time with friends and family, 37% never enjoying a full weekend off and 42% working more than nine hours a day.
Now, nobody said that running a small business should be easy, but it does seem sad that all the endeavour that goes into founding and building a business shouldn’t result in a greater level of contentment for those with the courage to create them.
Countering workplace stress for the boss
In the UK in 2017/18, 15.4 million working days were lost as a result of work-related stress. We can bet that business owners only took a very small proportion of those days as the demands to keep going, whatever the circumstances, will have driven most of them into work each morning, but the stress must surely have had a significant impact on their decision making and productivity.
When we look to the business manuals for the answers, we are often told that successful business leaders like Bill Gates and Richard Branson take time away from their businesses, exercise regularly and delegate the small stuff. This is all very well in theory, but you need a strong character and an already well-run business to be able to step away from it like that.
For most mere mortals, managing stress is about finding more efficient ways of doing things at work and increasing the sense of being in control.
The impact of cash flow on entrepreneur wellbeing
While not covered specifically in the Yorkshire Bank study, it is well known that managing cash flow is one of the biggest inducers of stress. Not having the money to pay suppliers, taxes and salaries on time keeps more business owners awake at night than anything else. Add to that, having to turn their hand to skills that are outside of their previous experience e.g. cash flow forecasting, can send stress levels through the roof.
Making the lives of small business owners easier and giving them greater peace of mind was our inspiration for developing CaFE. By plugging CaFE into the cloud accounting software, it calculates available cash each night, alerts the user to potential shortfalls, points them to the specific causes and highlights what can be done to resolve them, before they become business critical.
We don’t pretend that CaFE takes all the stress of running a business away, but it does make businesses fitter and gives the owners more time, which they could choose to spend on their own health and personal wellbeing – and wouldn’t that be a great thing?!