Money not top of list for small business owners

21:34, Apr 15 2014

Making a lot of money is not the No 1 focus for half of New Zealand's small business owners, according to research released yesterday.

A survey of more than 1000 small and medium businesses, commissioned by accounting software business MYOB, said 50 per cent of operators "don't want to make lots of money".

MYOB New Zealand national manager Allison Fairkettle said an increasing number of business owners were focused more on a work/life balance.

"The balance is around a lifestyle not making a pot of money," Fairkettle said.

Since the first survey was conducted five years ago a trend had developed of more people going into business to pursue a passion or hobby, she said.

A lot of business owners were satisfied making enough money to simply sustain their lifestyle, she said. "There's a much bigger focus on balancing everything in life, not just pursuing a heap of money."


Wellington's House of Dumplings owner Vicky Ha, also known as The Dumpling Queen, said her main focus was producing a good product she was proud of.

"Money is not my motivation in life for me it's about self-satisfaction in what I achieve."

Finding a work/life balance was the hardest thing in running a business and only a few owners achieved that, she said.

However, making a lot of money along the way would be a nice bonus, she said. "If I can sell the business off for a lot of money, of course I'm going to sell it."

Reuben Bijl, who co-owned Christchurch app development business Smudge, also focused on doing what he loved over making a lot of money. "We like being able to have control over what we do."

But it would be naive for a business not to put an importance on money, he said.

"At the end of the day that's what a business is about. If you're not making money for anybody than it's not a business but it's definitely not the No 1 consideration."

Rachel Roset, who along with her husband owns panel and paint workshop Scratch Busterson in Auckland's North Shore, said starting a business was more a lifestyle choice rather than a financial one. But finding that balance was difficult.

"What tends to happen is you have less time to yourself in the long run."

But after three years since starting the business they were getting closer to that goal, she said.