Business owners pushed to breaking point by stress

By Anita Jaynes on 5 February, 2017

A third (37%) of South West company owners completely lose motivation to continue running their business at least once a year, according to a new study by one of the country’s top accountancy firms Haines Watts.

This figure is slightly above the national average of 35% and the research is based on interviews with 514 owners of UK businesses, of at least two years old, with a turnover of between £1 million and £50 million.

Peaks and troughs in the volume of work is the main source of stress for business owners. This is, in turn, having an impact on their personal lives, including their work-life balance, health, wellbeing and relationships.

There are also significant regional differences in the findings. London, the South East and Welsh (45%) business owners are the most likely to lose motivation at least once a year, while North East (27%) and North West (24%) business owners are the least likely to experience this sapping of motivation.

Key findings for South West businesses are:

  • A third (37%) of business owners lose motivation at least once a year;
  • 58% identify peaks and troughs in the volume of work as a source of stress and a drain on their motivation.
  • Financial worries (51%) are the second highest factor in becoming demotivated.
  • Responsibility to staff (47%) also plays on the mind of business owners.

However, psychological research carried out by the Haines Watts team, reveals money is also a powerful positive influence whether or not they admit it, in getting back on track. In testing, 64 out of 100 business owners showed strong positive agreement that money it is the biggest re-motivating factor. This rises to 85 out of 100 for the over 50s.

Mike Lloyd, managing partner at Haines Watts Swindon, said: “Our research shows money is one of the most common reasons why business owners find themselves in a spiral of stress, which can dampen their motivation.

“Part of this stems from business owners attempting to tackle financial difficulties, such as cash flow problems, growing pains and over-expansion, as they arise rather than planning for them in advance.

“Business owners need to create time to step back and plan for the future. This often starts with short, medium and long term business planning and then building a strong management team to help deliver the plan and trusting them to do so.”

When it comes to business owners rekindling their love for their own businesses, personal drive and family come out as the two main reasons for moving forward.

Two thirds (67%) of South West business owners say their own personal drive and family re-motivates them, while 54% cite their responsibility to their employees and money as key re-motivating factors.

Mike said: “No amount of money is worth the cost of being pushed to breaking point, and yet business owners often don’t know where to turn for help. It’s crucial they build a wider network of support.

“Being able to discuss concerns and share advice with like-minded people can be a real life saver for business owners overshadowed by complex challenges and who, as a result, lack the will to go on.”

To find out more about the report visit

Pictured above: Mike Lloyd, managing partner at Haines Watts Swindon