Although a large number of Australian small business owners decide to start their own business in order to take control of their work-life balance, a new study has found close to 40 per cent find time management a huge challenge.
The findings come from the Officeworks Small Business Pulse report, which found—spoiler alert—that the dream of starting a small business and the reality of running one can be dramatically different.
Over the past 12 months, small business owners reported rising stress levels over attracting and winning customers (43 per cent), managing business cash flow and profit (36 per cent), time management (37 per cent) and trying to do it all alone (33 per cent).
“In a small business environment, you have to be able to do it all,” Officeworks national business manager Mark Kindness says. “Often small business owners, including retailers, tend to try and do it all themselves and don’t tend to ask for help.”
Officeworks is aiming to change this with its new range of prepaid business services. This includes administration, training, productivity, and marketing services covering everything from receipt management to first aid training, drone photography and customer research.
The services can be accessed either online or in an Officeworks store and can be used on an ad hoc basis, meaning you aren’t locked in.
Kindness says assisting small business owners with these tasks will free them up to spend more time working on their business rather than in it, which 35 per cent of survey respondents said was a challenge.
“What I like, and what appeals to small and medium enterprises, is that you hook into these services as you need them and then move on,” says Kindness. “You’re not locked into long-term contracts—they’re there when and as you need them.”
Although running a small business and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is often difficult, Kindness says success is about finding your purpose and sticking to it.
“My wife has had her own small business for the last 25 years, so I’m very familiar with the ups and downs,” he says. “One thing I see that helps businesses to achieve is having a very clear vision and understanding their purpose.
“It’s easy to lose track when you’re caught up in the day-to-day, but keep that vision alive in the workplace—that’s generally what I see successful businesses do.”
By Ruth Cooper