Valentines Day conjures up images of red roses, candle-lit meals, gushy cards, chocolate strawberries and champagne… not spreadsheets, emails and stock-taking.
However, according to new research by business technology providers First Data, almost half of UK SME owners (43 per cent) have had to cancel a Valentines date because they were working late.
Hetal Patel, marketing director at First Data comments, ‘Small business owners are rushed off their feet – from managing employees and inventory to serving customers and promoting the business, there’s a lot going on! Due to small business owners having to wear ‘multiple hats’ often they are squeezing multiple tasks into one day, working long hours and sometimes this unfortunately leads to them cancelling out of work commitments.’
The survey also reveals that almost a quarter (23 per cent) believe they know their business better than their partner. When asked about the status of their relationship with their business, 60 per cent of SME owners describe it as ‘steady’. Just 13 per cent say there are ‘in the first flush of passion’, while for 5 per cent opted for ‘it’s complicated’.
Patel continues, ‘You don’t have to be stuck in the office or on the shop floor to get to know your business better and give it the love and attention it needs to grow. There is plenty of tech available to help small businesses work remotely, at a time and place that suits them.
A cloud-based system will likely appeal to growing businesses, allowing owners and senior managers to monitor data from afar, rather than staying late and feeling the pressure to be physically present on-site at all times. That way they don’t need to miss out on out of work activities – like dating!
‘For example, if your goal is to lift the lid on the ‘stories behind the sales’ to help you bring in new business, transaction data collected by tech can show how SMEs are performing and help them understand the impact of marketing efforts.
‘We know that a massive 61 per cent of SME owners feel a lack of support when it comes to growing their business. It’s important that they know that they can take advantage of technology to take over tasks like real time stocktaking, annual leave management and marketing so they can concentrate on what is important – their customers and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.’
In the poll of small business owners First Data finds those in London are the flakiest Valentines daters with 58 per cent admitting to cancelling plans when work takes over. Scots were the least likely to cancel a date due to work – only 34 per cent confess to this.
Written by Hetal Patel, marketing director at First Data