There’s no getting away from the fact that we live in uncertain times, just as we’re learning to live with Covid, the focus has shifted to how to deal with high energy bills and the cost of living squeeze this will bring for many UK households. For businesses it’s a question of continuing to cope with the uncontrollable and having to find solutions for issues as and when they arise. This can all take its toll and in particular has an adverse effect on our mental health.
This month we are focusing on how small business owners can take steps to protect their businesses and their mental health in three key areas: returning to “normal,” money worries and dealing with uncertainty.
Business and Mental Health: The Statistics
According to MIND, the charity for better mental health: “At least 1 in 6 workers experience mental health problems like anxiety and depression.” (source: Mental Health at Work https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/)
It’s been a really different time for us all, so it’s more important than ever that we look out for each other. As well as taking care of staff, it’s essential that small business owners take care of their own mental wellbeing. Computers aren’t the only systems that need a Health Check, it’s good to check your own mental wellbeing.
Being your own boss is great but it can be difficult to switch off and maintain a healthy work- life balance. The key is to delegate some tasks so that you can free up more time to focus on running your business or take a day off to recharge your batteries.
Running a business can be stressful, especially when things go wrong. Problems usually come out of nowhere and interrupt an already busy day. At Better Business at Hand, we help small business owners find solutions to help ease the worry. Asking for help can bring a sense of relief and is the first step to finding a resolution.
3 big concerns for small business owners and how to deal with them
There are three key areas that small businesses might find challenging right now that could have a negative impact on mental health. At Better Business at Hand, we’ve put together some pointers on how to help with Getting back to “normal,” Concerns about finances and Dealing with uncertainty.
- Mental health at work and getting back to “normal”
The ending of restrictions has allowed us to get back to doing the things we enjoy but for some people the change has led to anxiety and the need for time to get used to things again. For those of us who run our own businesses, working from home is nothing new but for some the return to the office presents its own set of challenges.
The NHS says on their website; “Even positive change can lead to anxiety, and it can take time to readjust to things we have not done for a while.” (https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/coronavirus/tips-to-cope-with-anxiety-lockdown-lifting/)
Small business owners can put steps in place to help their staff transition back to life in the office, whether this be hybrid working or gradually increasing the number of days worked. A Human Resources specialist can work with you to ensure that the process runs smoothly.
At Better Business at Hand, we work with an experienced HR Consultant who can create a bespoke plan for your business. Use the enquiry form at the bottom of the homepage to contact us and find out more about how we can help.
- Money worries and how to ease them
Do concerns about finances top your list of worries? If so, you’re not alone, the rise in the cost of living and high energy and utility bills is a major stress at the moment. It’s hardly surprising that worrying about money can have a negative impact on mental health but there are steps you can take to help you cope better.
Firstly, it’s really important that as a small business owner you understand what is coming in and out of your business. Getting a handle on your cashflow is crucial as it will help you understand where you are making a profit, and on the flipside, where there are any shortfalls. You can then create a business budget that details your income and the level of expenditure you can make in any given period.
If your finances go into freefall and you get into debt, the best advice we can give is firstly don’t panic and secondly don’t ignore the situation. If you brush debt under the carpet, it won’t go away, whereas if you face it head on there may be a solution such as a payment plan arrangement.
Better Business at Hand Consultant Maria Pombo can give you pointers on how to ease debt, help you create a business budget and develop a debt management plan to put you on the path to turnaround. Book an appointment with Maria.
- Dealing with the stress of uncertainty
Over the past couple of years we have experienced a great deal of uncertainty due to the pandemic. Now the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is being felt around the world and our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people. The war could lead to even higher energy bills and result in food price rises, we are already seeing rocketing utility bills and cost of living in the UK.
We all handle change and uncertainty in different ways. For business owners, this can be especially stressful as it can put your plans in jeopardy and make the future seem unclear. There’s no magic wand but there are steps you can take to manage things so that it’s easier to cope.
Sometimes it really helps to focus on the short-term. Look at where you are now and what you can do to immediately improve the situation. If you have a Plan B in your business plan, see if it’s appropriate for now. There might be some gems you can pick out and adapt.
Get practical advice. A problem shared is a problem halved might be a cliché but it’s true! Speak to other business owners and your professional network. Others might have tried and tested solutions that will help. You can speak to our readymade network of Consultants whose expertise ranges from Finance to Digital Marketing and Business Turnaround. Meet the Better Business at Hand team and find out how they can help your business.
Dealing with change, debt and uncertainty can be hugely stressful but there are steps small business owners can take to help them cope better. Speaking to others and seeking advice is crucial and can help businesses find a way through a crisis.
The Better Business at Hand team can help you handle business issues, you can book appointments of 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes depending on your needs and budget.
If you are struggling with your mental wellbeing, seek professional medical advice.
Advice on How to be mentally healthy at work is available at www.mind.org.uk/work