IT entrepreneurs worked harder than their peers in other sectors to beat the recession by slashing more from their own pay checks, putting more of their own savings into their businesses, working more overtime and fighting harder to retain customers, a survey has found.
Specialist insurer Hiscox found the recession had taken a heavy toll of IT entrepreneurs, but two-thirds of the survivors now felt more optimistic about the future.
IT professionals made a much higher personal investment than entrepreneurs from any other sector to secure their businesses during the recession, said Alan Thomas, small business expert at Hiscox.
"As a result, a third (34%) of IT SMEs are planning to expand in 2010," he said.
While many felt early on that the recession wouldn't touch them, reduced cash flows, more competition, stress and marital problems took their toll, he said.
The second DNA of an Entrepreneur study found entrepreneurs in the IT, telecoms and media sector invested more of their own money than any other sector in keeping their companies afloat, averaging £27,318. One in three cut their own salary by an average of 37% to increase cashflow.
At the start of the recession 73% of IT professionals believed they would survive unscathed. In fact, 42% worked an average of 14.6 hours a week overtime, 37% has suffered stress, 21% sacrificed time with friends and families, 10% felt their marriages suffered, and 10% said their health had suffered.
Nearly half (46%) of IT professionals aimed to secure existing business. Compared with other sectors, more IT entrepreneurs hired specialist staff and adapted to client demands to keep the business.
The survey showed 60% of IT entrepreneurs were positive about the year ahead, and a quarter said the recession had made them more determined. Almost half (44%) would follow the same strategy if faced with another recession.