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How Many Hours Do You Work?

Does being an entrepreneur mean not being able to have a work life balance?

If the words of the outspoken venture capitalist Jon Moulton, who has backed dozens of entrepreneurs and embryonic startup ventures, were taken to heart by the countrys budding business owners many would probably turn on their heels and walk away from their business idea.

The founder and managing partner of private equity firm Alchemy said at a recent growth company forum that if he called an entrepreneur at 5.45 pm and they had already gone home, that is not the kind of person he would want to be investing in.
The inference that being an entrepreneur means not being able to have a work life balance is lent some credence as a result of a survey conducted by Bank of Scotland Business Banking. It reports stress levels for small business owners increasing over the last year, as the average working week for British entrepreneurs reached 50 hours.

The increase in the number of hours invested by entrepreneurs in their ventures has been at the expense of their private lives with the average entrepreneur taking just 15 days holiday per year with 25 per cent taking less than 10 days.

Peter Wood, head of strategy and products at Bank of Scotland Business Banking, said: "There is a clear downside to the pursuit of success for some entrepreneurs but given that the stakes are so high, it comes as no surprise that Britains business owners are burning the midnight oil to make a success of their business".

Help is at hand though for those hard pressed business people struggling to make sense of it all while plying their trade in an increasingly competitive and shrinking marketplace.

Make Your Mark is a national campaign aimed at unlocking the UKs enterprise potential, providing advice and guidance on all aspects of entrepreneurial activity.
The organisation, founded in 2004 by the British Chambers of Commerce, the CBI, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors was set up to support and encourage entrepreneurial activity at all levels but with the main focus being on challenging the somewhat laissez faire culture of Britons compared to other nationalities in respect of setting up in business.

Head of communications for Make Your Mark, Hannah Bourne, said: "So often in life inspiration springs from adversity and business is no different but it is important to offer support to this group of people who can be forgotten at times because it is assumed they are self sufficient."

The organisation, funded by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, offers entrepreneurs the chance to get involved in a range of activities from self help groups to business development activities.

The emphasis of the work done by Make Your Mark is on offering regional support with proven entrepreneurs acting as ambassadors for the organisation working with up and coming business people as well as liaising with the government on developing policy which affects small businesses.

A important strand of the work being done is in respect of encouraging those that have a flair for business to focus their ideas on local issues and requirements which, research from the organisation has shown, is more likely to lead to success.
Bourne added: "Working in partnership as we do with a range of agencies means that assistance can be provided where it is needed most and businesses, particularly those of a social enterprise nature, are growing in number and are proving to be highly successful."

The efforts of the 60 strong team at Make your Mark culminate in November of each year when a week long series of national and international events are held to celebrate entrepreneurialism and its effects.

Events include talks from established entrepreneurs, schools and universities organising business style quizzes and games while various representative bodies are available to provide advice and guidance on a range of issues. Attendance at the events, details of which can be found at enterpriseweek.org.uk, has doubled year on year with more people than ever before, according to Bourne, showing an interest in setting up their own business.

She commented: "It is a proven fact that small businesses make a countrys economy stronger and correspondingly the more entrepreneurs we manage to encourage, the stronger the UK will become in terms of competitiveness and productivity."


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