South African small and medium business owners contribute as much as 10% – or nearly R530 billion – to the annual GDP, by working beyond the standard industry hours for their businesses.
According to a new global survey by accounting, payroll and payment systems provider, Sage, the world’s small and medium business sector has added R115 trillion ($8.3 trillion) to the global economy through after-hours work.
A sample of 200 small business owners in South Africa found that some 51% of respondents work more than 40 hours a week and 22% work more than 50 hours a week.
Around 44% of local business owners have chosen their work over their family and 26% have taken less than five days holiday in the last year.
A quarter admits that their personal relationships have been affected while making their business successful, but 29% say it was worth it.
Half of respondents in South Africa compromise taking holidays in order to make their business successful; 45% compromise their social life, and 37% compromise their own health.
Why do they do it?
More than half (51%) say they are motivated by the love of their business, with 59% motivated by the sense of achievement, 60% by growing the business, and 58% by making money.
Some 77% say that working outside their industry standard hours to make their business successful is worthwhile.
Paperwork is the bane of many South African entrepreneurs’ lives: 35% say that more efficient administrative processes would reduce the time spent working after hours.
Time management is another challenge, with 33% saying that understanding how to use their time more efficiently would reduce the time spent working after hours.
On the upside, 64% feel smartphone emailing reduces the time spent working after hours.