Is running a business bad for your health?

Running a small business ‘detrimental to physical health’, as 1.8 million SME owners have had a health scare since starting their business.

A third (30 per cent) of small business owners in the UK have had a health scare since starting their business – this amounts to a staggering 1.8 million SMEs, according to research from Ultimate Finance, which explores the pressure British SMEs are under in the UK.

  • Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of business owners and managers worry their current work / life balance is having a negative impact on their health
  • Thirty per cent find it hard to go to the gym and maintain their health regime and a further third find it hard to eat healthily since starting a business
  • Seventy per cent worry about the future and their health due to their work habits

Steve Noble, ‎chief operating officer at Ultimate Finance comments, ‘While it is common knowledge that running your own business is stressful, we were shocked it has triggered health scares in so many entrepreneurs. It can be isolating spearheading a business, particularly in uncertain economic and political times and clearly the strain is taking its toll in terms of personal health and wellbeing. Many SME owners are simply not finding the time to eat well or exercise.

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‘When you consider that over five million businesses are SMEs, we could be heading towards a bit of a crisis. We need to start talking seriously about the importance of prioritising physical health, not just for the sake of entrepreneurs’ personal health but to ensure the long-term success of their business.’

Business psychologist Robert Stewart adds, ‘Many SME owners focus on the needs of the business and their employees but fail to address their own personal needs. At the start of a new year, I would urge the UK’s SME community to take this research seriously and establish their own process for looking after themselves. This may be in the form of a personal wellbeing advocate who can ask them difficult questions about their work / life balance or simply by taking a more honest look at the way they work and creating boundaries and new habits of eating well and exercising.’

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

Further reading on health

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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