In an attempt to keep costs down, almost one-third of small business owners haven’t taken a holiday since they started their business, according to a new MYOB report.
The MYOB Business Monitor is based on a survey of 1,043 small to medium business owners and managers, including 120 start-ups (businesses less than two-years-old).
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The research reveals economic confidence has sagged to a three-year low among business operators. Only 19% of respondents expect the domestic economy to improve within the next 12 months.
Meanwhile, more than a quarter (26%) do not expect the economy to improve for at least two years.
However, only 21% of start-ups believe it will take more than two years for the economy to improve from its present position, compared to 32% of businesses aged 10 years and over.
“It’s encouraging to see a significant proportion of start-up business owners and operators are not finding economic conditions as daunting as some who’ve been in business longer,” MYOB chief executive Tim Reed says.
“It may well be that the more positive start-ups are working in a growth sector and/or are exploring initiatives that make their venture more competitive in any economic environment, such as marketing their business online and via social media.”
While 20% of respondents said their revenue rose in the past year, 38% said revenue fell, while 39% reported steady revenue.
Interestingly, Generation Y (18-29 years) was the generation most likely to experience a positive result, with 29% experiencing an increase in revenue.
In contrast, those aged over 60 were most likely (41%) to experience a fall in revenue.
Generation X (30-44 years) was the generation most likely to anticipate business revenue to rise in the next 12 months (36%), compared to an overall result of 30%.
Almost 40% of respondents expect revenue to hold steady in the next 12 months, while 24% predict a fall in revenue.
But perhaps the most surprising findings relate to holidays, with the research highlighting the hesitancy among respondents to take a break, regardless of how long they have been in business.
According to the survey, 29% of all respondents have not taken a holiday since beginning operations.
This was most common among baby boomers (45-59 years) and least common among Generation Y respondents, at 33% and 23% respectively.
However, there was little correlation between this finding and respondents’ length of time in business.
For example, those who have been established for 10 or more years were only 1% more likely to have made this sacrifice than those in business for less than two years.
Reed says it is “mind-boggling” to think that three in 10 of the business owners surveyed have sacrificed every potential holiday with friends and family.
According to Reed, respondents’ refusal to take a break could be an attempt to keep costs under control.
“This need to reduce costs where possible was echoed in hiring trends,” Reed says.
“We found that throughout their business life, one quarter have cut back on, or not used, contractors, part-time or casual staff. They list it as a sacrifice they have simply had to make.”
Reed believes SMEs’ determination to keep staffing hours and numbers tight has an enormous impact on their quality of life, urging business owners to rethink their refusal to go on holiday.
“The most concerning result from this MYOB Business Monitor is that so many self-made business people have not taken a break at all,” he says.
“This has big implications for their wellbeing.”