Christmas cancelled for a third of SME food firm owners

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

A third of food and drink entrepreneurs will be too busy to celebrate Christmas this year
A third of food and drink entrepreneurs will be too busy to celebrate Christmas this year

Related tags Small business

Christmas celebrations will be cancelled for a third of food and drink small business owners this festive season, due to business and work commitments, reveals a new survey from financial specialist Ultimate Finance.

Revealing the personal strains under which entrepreneurs – including food and drink manufacturing owners – are operating, 33% will not have time to celebrate a traditional Christmas this year.

Eight out of 10 owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) admitted running their businesses had a negative impact on relationships and family life.

Poor work/life balance had hit family relationships, conceded 81% of those surveyed.

More than one-third (35%) admitted missing a special family occasion, such as a birthday.

The independent survey, carried out by 3Gem on behalf of SME funding partner Ultimate Finance, questioned hundreds of mds, across a range of sectors, about the impact that running their businesses was having on their lives.

Ultimate Finance chief operating officer Steve Noble said Christmas was an important time of year for many reasons, not least because it was one of the few times when most people in Britain relaxed with family and friends.

‘Work extremely long and lonely hours’

“This is particularly important for SMEs, who often work extremely long and lonely hours,”​ said Noble. “However, the festive period is also an especially busy time of year for the food and drink sector, and businesses can experience extra pressures due to seasonal demands.”

The research showed that many food and drink industry small business owners were not getting the opportunity to ‘switch off’ at Christmas and had to battle the constant stresses and strains of running a company.

“This never-ending work pattern can put strains on personal relationships, further isolating those who are not finding the time to take off. It is important that the issue of pressure on SMEs is addressed as a serious problem,”​ he said.

Helped with mental wellbeing

Business psychologist Robert Stewart said that spending time with friends and family was restorative and helped with mental wellbeing.

“I find that business leaders often struggle to strike this work/life balance, sometimes feeling guilty about ‘downtime’, despite very much wanting to more spend time with loved ones,”​ said Stewart.

“Not getting that time off can be extremely detrimental, and I welcome this research which shows the true extent of the problem which we can work together as a single business community to tackle.”

Ultimate Finance commissioned the research as part of a bigger SME wellbeing campaign. The initiative aims to highlight the need for small business owners to consider their own health, as well as their employees. To help business owners who need support with their wellbeing, the company has created an information hub ​with insight and guidance on a range of business wellbeing topics.

Meanwhile, listen to SME biscotti boss Paul Rostand explain how winning a manufacturing Oscar will boost the morale of his workforce in this exclusive video interview​. 


Christmas cancelled for many small business owners

  • 33% will miss Christmas celebrations this year due to business and work commitments
  • 80% admit their businesses had a negative impact on relationships and family life
  • 81% conceded poor work/life balance had hit family relationships
  • 35% have missed a special family occasion such as a birthday

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