Sacrificing love, family and fun for dream business ideas
According to a new global survey by Sage, South African small and medium business owners contribute nearly R530 billion to the annual gross domestic product (GDP) by working for their businesses beyond the standard industry hours.
The world’s small and medium business sector has added R115 trillion to the global economy through after-hours work. The survey by Sage – a market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems – highlights the commitment of entrepreneurs around the world. The sample included 200 small business owners in South Africa.
The contributions they make come at a price, however. Some 51 percent of South African business owners work more than 40 hours a week and 22 percent work more than 50 hours a week.
Around 44 percent of local business owners have chosen their work over their family and 26 percent have taken less than five days’ holiday in the last year. A quarter admits that their personal relationships have been affected while making their business successful, but 29 percent say it was worth it.
Furthermore, 29 percent of the country’s business owners have cancelled a date because of work. Half of respondents in South Africa compromise taking holidays in order to make their business successful; 45 percent compromise their social life, and 37 percent compromise their own health.
Why do they do it? More than half (51 percent) say they are motivated by the love of their business, with 59 percent motivated by the sense of achievement, 60 percent by growing the business, and 58 percent by making money. Some 77 percent say that working outside their industry standard hours, to make their business successful, is worthwhile.
Paperwork is the bane of many South African entrepreneurs’ lives: 35 percent say that more efficient administrative processes would reduce the time spent working after hours. Time management is another challenge, with 33 percent saying that understanding how to use their time more efficiently would reduce the time spent working after hours. On the upside, 64 percent feel smartphone emailing reduces the time spent working after hours.
Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage, comments: “We know it takes hard work and sacrifice to turn a dream business idea into a way of life. This survey highlights the extent of that commitment. It is the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the difference all over the world, and the contribution of these businesses that powers the global economy. We should do all we can to support these heroes and recognise all those hours of hard work they are putting in after the rest of the world has gone home.”