Two fifths (40 per cent) of small transport business owners in the UK have had a health scare since starting their operation, according to new research.

The independent survey, carried out by 3Gem on behalf of SME funding partner Ultimate Finance, questioned hundreds of managing directors across a range of sectors about the impact running their business was having on their lives.

Some 84 per cent of transport business owners and managers said they worry their current work/life balance is having a negative impact on their health.

Almost half (48 per cent) said they found it hard to go to the gym and maintain their health regime, while a further third (32 per cent) found it hard to eat healthily since starting a business.

In addition, 80 per cent said they worry about the future and their health due to their work habits.

“While it is common knowledge running your own business is stressful, we were shocked it has triggered health scares in so many entrepreneurs in the transport sector,” said Steve Noble, chief operating officer at Ultimate Finance.

“It can be isolating spearheading a business, particularly in uncertain economic and political times, and clearly the strain is taking its toll in terms of personal health and wellbeing. Many SMEs operating in the transport industry are simply not finding the time to eat well or exercise.

“When you consider over five million businesses are SMEs, we could be heading towards a bit of a crisis,” he added. “We need to start talking seriously about the importance of prioritising physical health, not just for the sake of entrepreneurs’ personal health, but to ensure the long-term success of their business.”