Small businesses are losing more than just their profit margins, according to a survey by office supplier Viking. The majority of Irish small business owners admit to losing sleep because of the recession, with 50% admitting that fear of not being able to pay their bills is keeping them awake at night.
'Paying bills' (50%), 'meeting customer demands' (25%), 'staffing (17%) and 'credit control' (8%) are the main concerns of business owners, with one third of respondents stating that the lack of sleep was affecting their performance in work.
60% of SME owners admit that the recession has impacted on their sleep patterns 'somewhat', with 47% getting less than 6 hours sleep on average per night – a level at which experts at Harvard contend that decision-making capacity, concentration and reaction speed begin to suffer.
"Small business owners need to show confidence in these challenging times but these findings reveal that most of them are taking their worries home with them and losing out on a good night's sleep," says Michael Walby, Director of Viking in Ireland.
On the positive side, 77% of those who said that the recession has affected their sleep patterns believe that they are 'slightly more optimistic for the next three months'. Over 68% of business owners in Ireland are considering growing their business in a year's time, which compares favorably with the UK, where 65% stated that they were considering expanding next year.
Nearly one quarter of respondents said they would not be inclined to set up in business again, knowing how hard it is. Help with finance and accounting was cited as the greatest single need for their business, ahead of mentoring, more training courses and more skilled employees.
Cullen Communications handles PR for Viking