What great news from the Federal Government! A recent announcement that a $3.6 million package is being made available to tackle the issue of poor mental health in small business.
Small-to-medium sized businesses are, and have always been, the backbone of the Australian economy.
But, as you know, being a small business owner is not for the faint-hearted. It can come with enormous pressures. Most small businesses owners struggle to find work-life balance. What’s more, if they do manage to get away, they find it incredibly difficult to switch off.
This kind of stress and exhaustion is completely unsustainable, and over the long term, it can have damaging, devastating effects on individuals, families, relationships, and to the business itself – directly impacting the bottom line.
The new Government funding package will primarily target the provision of advice and support services for small business owners experiencing mental health issues, with a view to developing further policy in the area.
Frankly, it’s long overdue. But what’s also interesting is that it has been developed on the back of research by professional services firm PwC, which found that every dollar spent on workplace mental health in small businesses has a productivity benefit return value of about $14.50.
You don’t have to be an astute numbers person to realise that is a phenomenal return-on-investment. It certainly offers more than the average ‘bang for buck’ … More importantly, it’s a critical step forward if we, as a nation, want to continue to support the SME sector, which is highly valuable to this country. SMEs are responsible for producing more than half of the country’s GDP. But they are also unique in terms of the challenges, and issues they face, and this is something that policy-makers have not always been able to wrap their heads around.
Of course, $3.6 million is not, in the scheme of things, a panacea. But it’s a solid start.
Recently, a survey conducted by Everymind canvassing more than 400 business owners, found rates of symptoms associated with depression and anxiety in this group, higher than the national average.
More than half of the survey respondents reported stress levels which fall outside of the “normal” range.
If this is you, then it’s important that you seek help. This is not an issue to be taken lightly. And it’s something that we at ATB Partners have witnessed often over the years, as business owners try to cope with the constant ‘juggle’ that comes with running a growing enterprise.
It is one of the reasons that we developed the 5-Step process – which encourages business owners to focus heavily on ‘why’ they’re doing what they’re doing. If there’s no purpose or meaning to the business itself, then it stands to reason that working it will seem futile and draining. Perhaps needless to say, this ongoing sense of ‘drudgery’ compounds stress.
The 5-Step process also encourages goal setting and to regularly engage in imaginative ‘blue sky’ thinking … the kind that ignites passion and makes believe that ‘anything is possible’.
This is important for two reasons. Firstly, its sparks creativity. And ALL entrepreneurs are creative. Unfortunately, many of them trade-in this creativity when the day-to-day pressures start to mount and yet it is the very thing that led them to starting a business in the first place! It’s a key personal driver that should not be ignored.
Secondly, you just never know where your best idea is going to come from. There’s always time down the track to assess whether a wild scheme is ‘practical’ or whether it can be ‘shaped into’ something that’s workable, before you implement it. The most important thing is to generate ideas … to stimulate inspiration and to stir innovation and to keep the business moving forward. And to keep you motivated!
Small business owners should also remember that all kinds of practical help is available.
Because most small business owners are highly focused on what’s happening, right now, on the ground in front of them, often feeling like they’re just running from one crisis to another, they sometimes don’t realise the sheer number of resources, like virtual assistance software, technology, temporary recruitment options, specialist advice and business mentors to name a few, which are available and can make an enormous difference, by making the business operate more efficiently, taking the pressure off.
Not to sound self-congratulatory, but, we just recently won an award for ‘Best Client Results’ and for us, as a business, this means everything. It means that we’re practicing what we preach. While it is always an honour to be recognised by industry peers, for us it’s about more than that: It absolutely verifies our purpose – our ‘why’ – which comes down to the sheer satisfaction of seeing clients walk out of our office way less overwhelmed and confused than when they first walked in. Whatever the problem, we’re committed to finding the solution. For us, that’s the gold right there. So let us help you.