It's no surprise that running a small business can be stressful. However, a new study released by Bank of America reveals that despite all of the small business challenges entrepreneurs face on a daily basis, they are optimistic about the future overall.
The inaugural Small Business Owner Report surveyed 1,000 small business owners throughout the United States. It uncovered a sense of optimism among entrepreneurs looking forward to the upcoming year.
Nearly 70 percent said their local economy is crucial to their business success. That being said, 42 percent said they expect their local economic conditions to improve over the next year, compared to 35 percent who believe the national economy will improve.
Additionally, nearly a third (31 percent) said they expect to hire new employees within the next 12 months, while 56 percent plan on keeping their staffing levels consistent. Furthermore, 61 percent of all respondents forecast a revenue increase, and 32 percent project that revenues will remain the same.
However, while most of those surveyed had a positive outlook, the survey also revealed that being an entrepreneur brings a host of challenges along with it. Nearly 40 percent said managing the ongoing success of their business creates more stress for small business owners than any other aspect of their lives. Other things that cause stress for small business owners include finding time to exercise, maintaining a healthy relationship with their spouse or partner and raising children.
To keep up with business demands, respondents admitted they routinely give up personal time, physical fitness and other personal priorities. Thirty-eight percent of small business owners also juggle full- or part-time jobs while running their business.
"Small business owners are constantly making sacrifices and prioritizing the success of their business over other personal priorities in their lives, but there are some simple ways to maintain a better work-life balance," small business experts and USA Today columnist Steve Strauss told ARA News.
Building a diverse support system is one of the ways Strauss suggests small business owners reduce their stress. Experts who can help include an accountant or bookkeeper, financial advisor and banker.
Strauss also recommends using technology and services such as electronic invoicing, online payroll services and mobile banking to help simplify operations.
In addition, he says small businesses can boost their competitive edge in recruiting new employees by diversifying the benefits they offer.