Nearly half of them (47%) fear that the next 12 months will prove even more difficult.
Other barriers identified include dealing with their own mental health and uncertainty over Anglo-international relations.
And three in five (62%) small business owners have suffered sleepless nights because of worries about their business.
More than one in 10 (12%) believe there is a strong possibility that they will go bankrupt within the next 12 months.
This despite the fact that 44% work weekends, 36% go six months or more without holidays and a third regularly work seven days a week.
But a sixth of SME owners hope the extended Platinum Jubilee holiday will bring a much-needed boost to profits, and a third are waiting for Christmas to boost sales.
Ben Ramsden, head of SMEs at PayPal UK, who carried out the study, said: “Financial hardship and stress can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.
“During difficult times, staying on top of their financial well-being is an essential tool for small business owners.
“This must be a priority to minimize the personal impact of running a business, which can be an isolating and challenging experience for entrepreneurs.”
Given today’s challenges, three in five admit to finding running their business stressful.
Moreover, a quarter are unaware of the financial health of their company, worrying about the reality.
However, it is encouraging that SMEs are trying to better control their financial well-being by improving their skills in using financial applications (31%) and learning from past mistakes (53%).
As a result, 56% feel more financially savvy following the uncertainty of the global pandemic.
More than a quarter (27%) feel in control of their own business again after experiencing such uncertainty and one in five (21%) feel more empowered as a business owner since improving his knowledge of his company’s finances.
And having a financially sound business will start to create new opportunities for small business owners, according to OnePoll research.
This includes greater self-confidence as a leader (45%), savings for the future (42%) and less stress (39%).
Ben added, “We’ve launched a number of solutions and the PayPal Business of Change: Wellbeing & Empowerment report, to give business owners practical advice on how to manage their financial wellbeing and help set them up for success. in 2022.”
Sandy Ruddock, small business owner and co-founder of Scarlett & Mustard, said: “Our biggest challenge has been the rising cost of raw materials, but we are hesitant to raise our prices to avoid having an impact on our customers. with.
“Since relaunching our website last year, our sales have increased, with 80% now being done online only through PayPal.
“It’s really helped alleviate some of the associated stress and I would definitely recommend to other small business owners who are feeling the pressure to invest in their social media presence to further drive online growth.”
For practical advice on how to manage business finances, visit – https://www.paypal.com/uk/brc/topics/build-business-resilience.