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SMEs say business worries keep them awake at night.

New research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that even those predicting growth for their business admit they seldom get a good night’s sleep (84%).

The Business Barometer findings come at a time when concerns have risen over the mental health of small business owners across the UK, with reports of anxiety and depression rising at the end of last year.

Hitachi Capital’s study reveals that it’s not just businesses that are already struggling that have nightmares, fast growing ones are just as likely to be taking their business worries to bed with them (84%) – they just have different nightmares.

For small companies predicting growth over the spring and summer months, red tape (40%), compliance (28%) and dealing with skills gaps in a growing workforce (20%) were their top concerns.

For those decision makers expecting their business to decline, the key worries related to market uncertainty (44%) and how to retain business (26%).

The Business Barometer survey – which has now run for five years – asked 1,177 small decision makers to share some of the issues that they were currently worrying about and kept them awake at night.

London emerged as potentially the worst place to run a small business in terms of sleepless while the retail was the sector most likely to give business owners nightmares while those in the transport business experiencing sleepless nights included transport grew to 78%, up from 69% at the start of 2018.

Gavin Wraith-Carter, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, said: “We all know that running a small business means can call for long working hours, but the extent to which business owners say they are unable to switch off when they get home is a concern.

“With the country at large becoming more aware of mental health issues, we need to recognise the prevalence of stress within the small business community and offer business owners the support they need so they can work hard but also relax after a hard day’s work.

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“We understand that there are many worries that give business owners sleepless nights – factors ranging from keeping up with increased paper work and compliance to retaining staff and finding the funds to invest in new equipment.

“For businesses looking for finance support to get their business on track and back into growth, we encourage people to challenge us to see how we can help them.”


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