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Small business cash-strapped and time poor

Around one in five owners of small and medium-sized business are working over 80 hours per week, according to a new report.

Senior Digital Journalist, Your Money

Australia's SMEs are under time and cost pressures (pexels.com/Aphiwat Chuangchoem)

Small business owners are struggling to get their hands on funding and many are working over 80 hours a week to make ends meet, according to new data.

The report by lender Scottish Pacific compiles information from more than 1,200 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Australia across all states and major industries.

Around 79 per cent of business owners said that lack of cash flow was their biggest concern, up from 73 per cent from the last time the report was compiled in 2016.

The second most common cause of stress was not having enough time in the day to get everything done, with one in five working over 80 hours a week and three quarters between 50 to 80 hours a week.

Less than one per cent of SMEs said they were able to achieve a regular 40 hour work week.

“Many business owners are cash-strapped, time-poor and confused about the options available to them to fund their growth,” Scottish Pacific senior executive Wayne Smith said in a statement.

Smith said the declining property market was of particular concern, with smaller businesses in Australia traditionally relying on property to secure loans from financial institutions.

“Business owners will need to consider funding alternatives to traditional property secured lending,” he said.

The report also showed that the financial services royal commission has had an impact on the way SMEs view the banks.

Around eight per cent say that recent revelations of bad banking behaviour will prompt them to see out non-bank alternatives.

Among other major concerns flagged by businesses were customers and clients paying late and fear that their business model could be disrupted in the future.

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