A new survey of small company owners shows how partners and spouses are a valuable, trusted, and cheap source of support.
The Direct Line poll, conducted earlier this year, reveals just how reliant many entrepreneurs and tradespeople are on the help they are given by their other halves.
Over half of respondents said that their partners helped them run their companies in some way or another – 48% in general office administration, 19% as receptionists, with many others providing anything from accounting to IT support.
There are many reasons why company owners prefer to work with their spouses or partners – trust being one of the most important. In pure economic terms, employing a partner to perform office duties can also be very cost efficient.
According to the survey, the average partner works for the company for two days per week. Significantly, 31% are not paid a salary for providing their services. In some cases, with many companies fighting for survival in tough times, this ‘free’ support could be the difference between the company surviving or trading insolvently.
The loyalty aspect of keeping business ‘in the family’ is also highlighted by the survey results. Partners have been providing support for an average of 4 1/2 years – in most cases (65%) in addition to working another job at the same time.
The questions were posed to small company owners with five or less staff, and turning over around £125,000 per year.