Business owners working hours of overtime: survey

| April 19, 2023

A recent nationwide survey commissioned by business coaching provider The Entourage has revealed that 1 in 2 Australian entrepreneurs and business owners are working up to, and in some cases above, 50 hours per week.

Specifically, 32% of respondents cited working up to 60 hours per week, and 15% are working up to and above 80 hours per week. This workload is causing 35% of business owners to spend inadequate time with their family, often missing important milestones with their loved ones due to work.

Moreover, the survey has found that a massive 90% of business owners believe that their business would fall apart if they stepped away for six months or more. Of this group, 30% are not taking any steps to address the issue.

It’s highly concerning and not at all surprising to see so many business owners sacrificing their health and well-being, while missing out on important family milestones due to the demands of their business. At The Entourage, we know that business owners can build a successful and profitable business that is in balance with the rest of their life, when they have the right strategies to do so. We’ve helped over 3,800 companies do exactly that over the last 12 years.

To tackle this issue, I am sharing my secrets to building a profitable business that can grow without the founder’s constant involvement at a technical, day-to-day level. The Entourage’s business coaching programs are designed to empower entrepreneurs to grow their businesses sustainably and profitably, by ingraining tried, tested and proven strategies that remove key-person dependency on the business owner, while accelerating the growth of the business.

Every day, we receive thousands of messages from business owners who, one way or another, feel trapped by what they’ve created. People who went into business in pursuit of freedom – be that creative freedom, lifestyle freedom, financial freedom and, in many cases, time freedom – and they are now experiencing anything but freedom. Instead, they’ve found that managing a growing business and team has just become another full-time job.

Five pieces of advice for entrepreneurs who want to step out of the day-to-day, reclaim their time and build a profitable business that can run without them include:

o    Focus on revenue and cash generation: your first priority needs to be growing the revenues of the company to a point where you can start to invest more capital into building the foundations of a sustainable business. Foundations such as more experienced people, a marketing and sales engine, a bigger team, product or service improvements, and the right technology.

o    Stop paying startup wages: in the early stages, you hire the people you can afford. This is inevitable. But think of people this way: you either pay in money, or you pay in time. One of the most common mistakes that keep business owners stuck is that they keep paying startup wages even after their business has grown out of the startup phase. This isn’t sustainable, particularly as the business grows business owners need to hire senior talent that can help them run and manage the business without their constant oversight.

o    Make the mental switch from “me” to “we”: the most expensive belief business owners routinely subscribe to is, “I need to do everything myself.” In the early stages, this may be true, but many business owners continue this habitual way of operating long after it ceases to be necessary. Your business – and your mental health – will improve significantly once you get out of the trenches. Once you’ve got the revenues: you build the team, and the team builds the business.

o    Unlock sustainable growth through structure: as your business grows, so should your team, your systems, your specificity around roles and targets, your precision around measuring results, and the scoreboards that give you (and everyone on the team) complete visibility of performance. If the fear of losing control is rearing its head, it’s an indication that you don’t yet have these things in place. When you grow with structure, scale gives you more control, not less.

o    Invest in your ongoing development: It may seem counterintuitive that the more successful an entrepreneur becomes, the more they engage in developing themselves, but it’s a universal truth. If you’re growing as a person, your business is growing. If you’re plateauing as a person, chances are your business is stagnating too. You must constantly level up, so that your business can also grow without your direct involvement.