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There are 28.8 million small businesses in the United States, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and they have 56.8 million employees. Small businesses (those with fewer than 500 employees) account for 99.7% of all business in the US.  About two-thirds of business survive 2 years in business, half of all businesses will survive 5 years, and one-third will survive 10 years according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.  A U.S. Bank study found that 82% of businesses fail due to cash flow.

At the heart of the matter, success in business, regardless of size, comes down to focusing time in the right areas.  Wasted time, or time spent on the wrong things, can lead to the demise of any business.

With this in mind, here are 19 Time Management Statistics Small Business Owners Must Know in 2019:

  1. The average entrepreneur spends 68.1% of the time working “in” their business—tackling day-to-day tasks, putting out fires, etc.—and only 31.9% of the time working “on” their business—i.e. long-term goals, strategic planning—according to research from The Alternative Board (TAB). 

2.Business Pulse Survey shows the majority of business owners (63%) are working more than 50 hours a week, but the average entrepreneur only wants to work 41.7.

3. 40% of business owners admit to either having an ineffective annual operating plan/budget or none at all. (Business Pulse Survey)

4. The Harvard Business Review reported on a Covey Center for Leadership study that investigated the emerging length of the American workweek. Surveying more than four hundred executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs, they discovered that the average business leader works a 72-hour week. 

5. Gallup and Wells Fargo, in a joint poll, found that 57% of small business owners work six days a week.  And over 20% of them work seven days a week.

6. Small business owners waste 21.8  hours each week (Inc Magazine)

7. The number of people who now admit to wasting time at work every day has reached  89%. (Salary.Com)

8. 43% of Small Businesses Spend 6+ Hours Per Week in Social Media (Hubspot)     

9. 63% of CEO’s/Owners spend 1-5 hours per week on social media although 30% want to spend less time on it. (Hubspot)                                                                     

10. 55% of Small Businesses Have a Blog and 16% spend over 3 hours to create each post! (Hubspot).   

11. Across the United States, over $25 million is wasted per day on meetings that just aren’t necessary. Each year, this results in $37 billion thrown away on meetings that simply aren’t productive. (Bain and Company)     

12. 33% of entrepreneurs agree email is the biggest time strain on their business. (Business Pulse Survey)                                                                                                                                               

13. About 70 percent of U.S. workers are disengaged from their workday (Gallup).   

14. Up to 10 minutes per day, per employee, is lost due to tardiness, long lunches and early departure (American Payroll Association).     

15. The average employee steals 4 hours and 5 minutes every week (Source: American Payroll Association)                                                                                                                                                 

16. Actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 to $550 billion per year in lost productivity (Source: Gallup)                                                                                                                 

17. More than a third of millennials and Gen Z (36%) say they spend two hours or more checking their smartphones during the workday. That adds up to at least 10 hours every week when they’re doing something outside their job responsibilities. (Udemy)                                                                                                                                                           

18. 60% of our survey respondents said meetings are just another distraction from the work they need to complete. (Udemy)

19. Top time wasters (Harris Interactive Poll on 2138 Hiring Managers)

  • Talking on the cell phone and texting – 50%
  • Gossiping – 42%
  • On the Internet – 39%
  • On Social media – 38%
  • Taking snack breaks or smoke breaks – 27%
  • Distracted by noisy co-workers – 24%
  • In meetings – 23%
  • On email – 23%
  • Distracted by co-worker drop byes – 23%
  • Distracted by co-worker calls on speaker phone – 10%


In summary, if you are a small business owner, chances are that you are wasting time and in business – time is not only money, it can be the difference between survival and failure.  My class – Organize Your Life for Entrepreneurs is a 6-week, live, virtual class designed to help entrepreneurs stop wasting time, get focused, and achieve.  Find out more here.


Susan Sly

Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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