The unique challenges faced by single parent business owners

New research by Novuna Business Finance has explored the challenges businesses led by single parents face. The research surveyed more than 300 single parent business owners asking about how they started their business, running their business day-to-day, and plans for the future.

Highlights from the research

Single parent business owners start out with significantly less

The amount of money single-parent owners were putting into the business to get it going in the first two years was roughly four fifths of the average business (£8,785 versus £10,836). 50% started their business with less than £5,000 (vs average of 44% nationally)

It's not about the money

Single parent business owners were three times as likely to start a business for better work life balance than to make money (44% vs 15%). Meanwhile, half were driven by the desire to do something they love.

They are among the most accommodating bosses

32% offer additional holidays to staff (vs average of 25%), and 30% offer flexible working arrangements (vs average of 27%), 18% offer job-shares (vs av 12%). This group is also the most likely to remember their employees' birthdays (24%).

They work an hour and a half longer each week than the average business owner

63% of single parent business owners work more than the standard 35-hour week. One in 10 say they do a 50-hour week, while 4% say they do a 60-hour week.

They plan to keep going, and going...

One in two (52%) single parent business owners say they will 'never stop' working, at least in a part time capacity. When asked, 32% said they had no clear plans for their business in the longer term but foresaw themselves working well beyond their retirement years (65%), with over half (53%) sayings it's because they love their jobs.

The research was conducted by Maru/blue among a representative sample size of 1,466 small business owners, including a sample of 389 single parents. The fieldwork was undertaken in February 2020.

View from our team

Jo Morris, Head of Marketing & Insight at Novuna Business Finance

“Taking the bold step to go out on your own is hard. However, for single parents, the playing field is far from level and the challenges are that much greater. Our research shows that, despite the odds being stacked against single-parent business owners, most have a genuine love for their businesses they run, driven by unrivalled passion for what they do, and plan to continue growing their businesses long into the future. The key for any entrepreneur thinking of starting a business is to learn from others who have been in the same situation who can help navigate the demands of running a small business.”

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Please note that these guides are provided for information purposes only and not as advice or recommendations. Before deciding to undertake any course of action you may wish to seek independent professional advice.