The Global State of Small Business Owner Wellbeing


While small businesses around the world have shown incredible resilience over the last three years, the effort does not come without a major toll on the mental and financial wellbeing of their owners.

The latest iteration of Xero’s “The Global State of Small Business Owner Wellbeing” report shines a light on fiscal and personal pressures of business ownership that entrepreneurs are feeling across seven countries in five continents.

Results were gathered under the framework of the five-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5), which is among the most widely used questionnaires assessing subjective psychological wellbeing.

Why look at small business wellbeing? Increasingly it is being drilled into us the importance of wellbeing in many aspects of our lives. Are we happy? Are we healthy? Are we thriving or just surviving? The same applies to small business owners and their teams—so why do virtually all measures of small business success focus purely on the financial?

When Xero tried to understand small business owner wellbeing from this broader—beyond financial—perspective, it discovered there was little to no data examining it. We’ve sought to fill this gap by asking more than 4,600 small business owners globally about their personal wellbeing, professional anxieties and overall satisfaction with life.

Xero felt that doing so was particularly timely given the wave of macro factors that have disproportionately pressured small business owners—from the pandemic to persistently high inflation and fears of a recession.

Highlights from the report include:

  • American small business owners aren’t doing too well compared to their international counterparts, scoring 5th in overall well being among entrepreneurs in South Africa, Singapore, Canada and New Zealand.
  • Mental recovery for entrepreneurs is not high enough of a priority in the US, despite what some data says. More than in any other country, over half of American small business owners (55%) could take breaks when needed most or all the time, yet only 19% report waking up fresh and rested.
  • A potential contributor to the gap between time off and recovery is the financial pressure burdening many small business owners, as 35% of American entrepreneurs report suffering from financial stress at least 50% of their time.
  • Younger entrepreneurs are taking work/life balance more seriously and prioritizing recovery more, with small business owners under 30 years old reporting higher overall wellbeing levels than those over 50.
  • Small business owners in the US score slightly below the Gallup World Poll average for American life satisfaction (6.5 compared to 6.9).
  • US entrepreneurs have access to more mental health and support resources than entrepreneurs around the world, with 44% reporting its availability most or all the time.

For a copy of the “The Global State of Small Business Owner Wellbeing,” CLICK HERE.


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