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Its lonley at the top for UK's small business leaders


Thousands of small business owners (SBOs) across the UK don't know who to turn to for advice after going it alone.

According to research released today (insert date) by Yorkshire Bank, voted the UK's best performing business bank*, the dreams of personal and financial freedom that most aspiring entrepreneurs cherish often disappear when the reality of actually running a business sets in.

In a UK-wide survey, Yorkshire Bank's [name of study] research found that 57 per cent of sole traders and SBOs first decided to set up their own business because of a desire for more flexible working and an improved work/life balance, and a further 39 per cent did so for greater financial control.

"The prospect of running your own business - free from the usual gripes and office politics - is very appealing to many people, and the idea of being in control of your financial future and having more personal time only adds to the attraction," said Gary Lumby, head of retail banking at Yorkshire Bank.

"However, our research also found that along with the benefits comes another set of challenges.

"More than a third (37%) of sole traders and SBOs who set up in business because they didn't want to be answerable to anyone else admitted they miss the comfort of having a sounding board when making decisions about the business. 

"It can be very lonely at the top if you can't access trustworthy, experienced advisors" he said.

Knowing where advice can be accessed is crucial to sole traders and SBOs, however 36 per cent of respondents felt that banks don't cater well for small business and are only interested in helping large companies.

"It's worrying that sole traders and SBOs don't know where they can turn to for business advice and feel that banks don't cater for their needs," continued Gary Lumby.

"This is particularly concerning when you consider that 42 per cent of people set up their own business in a field that is alien to their experience and that nearly three-quarters (73%) of those people running their own business don't have any managerial experience at all.

"Yorkshire Bank's Small Business Banking Service is essentially a one-stop shop where sole traders and SBOs running companies with a turnover up to £1m can access help and advice on all aspects of their business - from invoice finance and cashflow solutions to advice on legislation, property and expansion strategies.

"For people running smaller businesses, knowing that help and advice is readily available on the high street is half the battle - and together with our small business managers, sole traders and SBOs can tackle the other half and move their business on to the next level," he said.

Other findings include:

- 62% of respondents say their biggest worry is managing cashflow
- 18% say that concerns about complying with new EU legislations is causing sleepless nights
- 44% waste an undue amount of time cashing late payments from customers
- 41% find it difficult to find the time to market themselves
- 33% would like more opportunity to network with customers and suppliers

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