No rest for SMEs this holiday season

A new survey commissioned by online lender Prospa and conducted by PureProfile recently revealed just how hard small businesses are working this holiday season, particularly in regional Australia.

This survey of 506 small-business owners showed that more than half won’t be cutting down their hours over the holiday season. 57 per cent of small-business owners surveyed said they will work either more or the same number of hours during this time, while half (49 per cent) said they were planning to take only public holidays off or no days at all.

While the average Australian takes 14 days of leave each year, 39 per cent of small-business owners admitted they hadn’t had a break of more than a few days in over a year or even since they began their business. Despite this, 47 per cent still feel guilty about the idea of taking a holiday.

The most common reasons small-business owners had for feeling guilty were that they couldn’t afford to not be working (45 per cent) and would be too worried about business cashflow if they did take some time off (42 per cent).

While small-business owners are working long hours during December, 53 per cent of those surveyed were feeling optimistic and excited about the impact of the upcoming holiday period on their business, compared with 37 per cent who admitted feeling worried and stressed

Regional businesses putting in the hard yards

The research showed that regional businesses in particular are putting in the hard yards this holiday season.

Regional businesses were less likely than their metro counterparts to find the holiday period a quiet time of year (19 per cent compared with 32 per cent) and were more likely to report working more or the same hours during this time (62 per cent compared with 55 per cent).

Regional businesses were also more likely than metro businesses to feel guilty about taking a holiday (51 per cent versus 45 per cent) and to worry about needing to close their business to customers that rely on them (44 per cent compared with per cent of metro businesses).

Skipping holidays was also more common among regional business owners. 46 per cent reported not having taken a holiday in over a year or since they started their business, compared with 36 per cent of metro businesses. More than half (56 per cent) of regional businesses were planning to take only public holidays off or no time at all off, compared with 45 per cent of metro businesses.

Giving small business a boost

The research also showed that nearly 6 in 10 (57 per cent) small business owners believe their business would benefit from extra funding to prepare for the end of year holiday period.

Commenting on the findings, Prospa co-founder and joint CEO, Beau Bertoli, said, “Research reinforces that hardworking small-business owners in Australia don’t get much of a break, even over the holiday season. The pressure is on during this time of year, whether they’re a small retailer stocking up for holiday sales or a beachside café needing extra staff for peak tourist season.

“Small businesses are aware of the benefit that accessing extra funding would bring to their business, but many still aren’t aware of the different options out there to help them grow and run their business. I encourage small-business owners across Australia to chat to their brokers and accountants about funding solutions that can give their business a boost.”

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