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Helping Hard-Working Small Business Owners Switch off and Recharge

By Amanda Salt, Vice President, Small & Medium Enterprises, UK Card Services at American Express

Amanda Salt, Vice President, Small & Medium Enterprises, UK Card Services at American Express

Running a small business can be highly rewarding but at times can be tough, especially given the uncertainty of the current economic climate. External pressures only add to the challenges that come with being a small business owner and can build up, affecting both their professional and personal lives. So, it’s no surprise that UK small business leaders recognise the important role that breaks, and downtime play in building business success and establishing a healthy work-life balance.

New research by American Express reveals over eight in 10 (82%) small business leaders agree that regular time off work is important for their wellbeing. Around the same number (78%) agree regular breaks are important to being a good leader and over half (56%) think they and their business would benefit from more time away from the workplace – a 5 percentage point increase compared to similar research we ran last year.

Day-to-day pressures mean many entrepreneurs struggle to find time for a break. However, given the opportunity, how would they like to spend their down time?


Travel trips offer new perspectives

The majority (84%) of small business leaders believe that activities or interests outside of work are vital to help them unwind and disconnect. Travel is one of the most popular interests away from the day-to-day, with over a third (35%) saying travel allows them to improve their work-life balance and they enjoy seeing new destinations and experiencing new cultures.

A change of scenery is a great opportunity to recharge the batteries and come back to work feeling refreshed with new ideas and perspectives. But with nearly half (48%) saying they don’t take time off if they haven’t got anything planned, it’s clear there’s an opportunity to prioritise those trips away.

American Express Business Cards® help support this by turning routine business spend on things like advertising or office supplies into Membership Rewards®. These points earned on every transaction give small business leaders the opportunity to get away more frequently or upgrade their travel plans – encouraging them to get their next trip booked in.

Striking the right balance

While some entrepreneurs want to travel more, two-thirds (66%) say they would like to discover a new interest or hobby if time allowed. Our findings reveal that one third (33%) stopped their hobby when they started running their own business, and they still haven’t found the time to pick it up again.

But some small business owners are looking to turn this around; one in 10 plan to take up a new hobby this year. More than three quarters (78%) acknowledge that having a hobby would help them recharge their batteries and a similar number (73%) believe spending more time doing a hobby makes them better at their job. There is clear recognition that a healthy work-life balance translates to better mental wellbeing, an improved emotional state and increased productivity.


American Express helps entrepreneurs switch off and recharge

At American Express, we know how hard the UK’s small business owners work to make their ventures a success. Whether a new destination or diversion, Membership Rewards points give small business owners the chance to get more out of their downtime. These points earned on every business spend give entrepreneurs flexibility to use their rewards in a way that best suits them. 

This month sees the most generous ever Welcome Bonuses on our American Express Business Platinum and Business Gold Cards.

Until 30 March, new Business Platinum Cardmembers that sign up can earn a substantial Welcome Bonus of up to 120,000 Membership Rewards® points; 80,000 points when they spend £12,000 in the first three months, and another 40,000 points 14 months later.

Over the same period, new Business Gold Cardmembers are eligible for a Welcome Bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points when they sign up and spend £6,000 in the first three months, and another 20,000 points 14 months later.

Annual fees apply. 18+, subject to status. For full terms and conditions of the American Express Business Cards visit:

American Express Services Europe Limited authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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