By Daniel Hunter

Two fifths of small business owners in the UK have admitted to being in financial trouble, according to a new poll by

More than 700 British SME owners, all of whom had launched their company within the past three years, said they were in financial trouble with half of those saying they don't see their business bouncing back.

The majority of respondents said they started a business because they wanted to be their own boss. Forty-two percent said they were in ‘financial trouble’ and only a third, 33%, stated that the company’s finances were ‘going from strength to strength’.

All business owners who stated that their company was in financial trouble were asked what they thought had gone wrong and what they’d change if they had the chance to go back and do it again. When provided with a list of possible responses and told to select all that applied, the top five answers given were as follows:

1. Got carried away with spending (i.e. equipment and supplies) — 52%

2. Rented/purchased an expensive building — 48%

3. Hired too many staff, too soon — 39%

4. Didn’t charge enough for services or products — 38%

5. Couldn’t get enough business/clients/customers — 33%

According to the poll, out of those who admitted to being in financial trouble, only 25% were optimistic that they could learn from their mistakes and would look to set up another company when the time was right.

Perhaps disappointingly, 26% of those surveyed regretted their decision to start a business. Similarly, all respondents were then asked if they would ever consider working for a company where they weren’t the boss, to which 82% of respondents said ‘no’.

Nick Swan, Founder and CEO of, said:

“Launching your own company is always going to be a massive risk, whether it’s your first time or you’ve got a whole portfolio of successful businesses. It’s about believing in yourself and venturing out to try something new and show the world what you’re made of. Like the results of this study show, even if the company does fail, it’s not necessarily a failure if you learn from the mistakes you made and try again. Business is unpredictable, it always has been and always will be, and the economy doesn’t always help, but you won’t know if you can do it unless you try.”

Do you regret starting your business? Or have you bounced back from financial difficulties? You can email your reactions to

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