It can be lonely being the boss


I was privileged to attend the AGM of BusinessTrust Marlborough recently. The work they do in Marlborough supporting local business is excellent. From their Business Mentors scheme, to Angel Investors, networking meetings, help and advice. We are so lucky to have them.

There was a discussion around helping Marlborough Business owners more with mental wellbeing and this got me thinking so I did a bit of research.

Mental wellbeing is a hot topic right now, and rightly so. Employers are responsible for ensuring their staff safe and well. The Mental Health Foundation states that “if you’re a manager or workplace leader you can have a direct impact on the welfare and wellbeing of your employees.” Indeed, managing health and safety risks associated with stress is embedded in employment law.

So, what about the boss’s mental health?

It’s right to care about the mental health of your employees – there are many benefits including a great working environment and increased productivity, among many other things. However, one of the key 3 concerns in the Xero 2019 Small Business Wellbeing survey was that business owners felt need to be an expert in everything. Small business owners go into business for various reasons, and for some it is a huge challenge to take on staff and then have a “family”( as well as their own family at home), who’s wellbeing they are responsible for.

According to the same survey, the more staff business owners had, they reported higher levels of mental health issues in themselves.  25% of owners with 1 staff member reported running a small business affected their mental health, compared with 52% with between 10 and 20 staff.

Many small business owners do not talk about their own challenges with mental health, and clearly, they have them, according to the surveys. Business owners are meant to have everything under control, so they bottle up their concerns and soldier on.

Please don’t do this! There are people out there to help you. Networking is a great way to get to know people and share your thoughts with other business owners. Don’t only use networking to market your business, rather use it to connect with other business owners and form relationships.

Both Xero and MYOB have separate programs to help you with your mental wellbeing. The Xero XAP (Xero Assistance Program) is a free service to support small business owners and the MYOB Smiling Minds app is there for support too. There are many EAP (Employment Assistance Programmes). And, more locally, don’t forget BusinessTrust Marlborough. If you really want some local support, please reach out to them.