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Small firms lag in happiness stakes

By Oliver Milman
Friday, 17 September 2010

Owners of micro businesses are less happy with their companies than their larger counterparts, according to a new study.


A report by accountancy software brand MYOB found that the vast majority of firms with one to four employees were content, with 80% saying that they are happy with their businesses.


However, this figure is lower than the happiness levels expressed by larger companies – 87% of firms with five to 19 employees and 89% of businesses with 20 to 199 staff were very satisfied.


Sole traders sat somewhere in the middle, with 86% of them expressing happiness with their business. Overall, 84% of all company owners said that they were happy or very happy.


The happiest industry sector was transport and storage, followed by construction and trade. Firms in Victoria and South Australia were geographically the happiest, while 87% of urban businesses said they were content, compared with 79% of companies in rural locations.


The most popular drivers of business happiness, according to those polled, is having satisfied customers, the freedom and flexibility of hours and location and the ability to have an individual style.


Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB, says: “It’s interesting that micro business owners reported the highest level of unhappiness. Our experience is that businesses in this category tend to be the ones most impacted by growing pains.”


“They have just brought on employees and are dealing with the legal complexities and red tape burden that comes with being an employer, but don’t yet have the scale to have specialist resources in their business.”


He added: “These very positive results clearly show the true spirit of Australian business owners when you think that less than 12 months ago we were in the grip of a global economic crisis.”


“Our economy was one of the few to remain out of recession and I have no doubt that the positive and passionate attitude of our business owners revealed by the MYOB Business Happiness Index would have played a significant role in that achievement.”


“It’s clear that Aussie businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. With their positive and courageous attitude they truly are our strength.”


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