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Business bad for marriage

IT IS official. Running a business is bad for your health – and for your marriage.

The Australian Family Business Lifestyle Audit, by Monash Univer-sity’s Family Business Research Unit’s Kosmas Smyrnios and Professor Claudio Roman found 55.6 per cent of respondents were always preoccupied with their health.

More than 32 per cent of business owners reported their work-related responsibilities interfered with family-related obligations.

About 40 per cent said their business was affecting their relationships with their partners and children and 42 per cent said it was affecting their social life.

Dr Smyrnios said family business owners worked an average of 55 hours a week – with some reporting working up to 105 hours a week.

“Many reported frequently feeling angry, restless, tense and anxious,” Dr Smyrnios said.

“In terms of leisure and recreation, most family business owners don’t have a lot of time to go on holidays.

“And when they do go on holiday they are often preoccupied with business and work.”

Dr Smyrnios said the majority of problems were experienced by people just starting out in business.

“Senior business owners tend to report fewer problems and more control of their lives,” he said.

“Younger owners, particularly those in small businesses, work long-er hours and this has more impact on their health and family lives.

“They want their firms to grow quickly and accumulate wealth.”

Small Business Development Corporation chairman John Garland said these days everybody wanted to be successful quickly.

“It’s almost impossible with our lifestyles and tax rates to be an over-night success,” Mr Garland said.

Dr Smyrnios said the toughest hurdle was the initial business stage – both financially and personally.

“Unfortunately, a lot of businesses don’t survive due to family break-ups and the like. There needs to be assistance for family business owners so they can survive. They are so significant to the economy.”

Family businesses are the predominant type of business in Australia. In fact, it is the most common form of business ownership in the world.

Dr Smyrnios said these businesses provided a very important source of satisfaction for their owner.

“They provide the owners with opportunities for creativity,” he said.

“Owners tend to put a lot of themselves into their businesses.”

Aalto Colour WA owner and L’Entrepreneuse president Sheryl Martin said if a business could get through the first two years it would usually survive.

“In the first twelve months of starting a business, you need as much support as you can get,” Ms Martin said.

Mr Garland said training was crucial to help business owners survive the initial business stages.

“It at least gives you a chance to find out where you’re going,” he said.

“If not you just ramble along. This brings stress on the income, spouse and the family.”

He said training would help, but businesses still need to go through the hard stages.

“You have to go through the pain. It hardens you for the job ahead,” Mr Garland said.

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