Many business leaders think this is the case! A picture of a business owner may conjure up an image of someone at the tiller on a ship, confidently steering the course. The reality may not always be the case as rates for mental illness are on the increase – why should business owners be immune to this?
Running a business can be a very lonely experience. With most start-ups failing in the first five years the pressure to succeed is massive as business owners may feel vulnerable to pressures of competition, staffing, profitability and most importantly, time. It is fairly normal for business owners to work extra-long hours which may have a negative impact on pressures and relationships at home.
So what are the warning signals as pressures start to build? These will be different in each case but inability to make clear decisions and in good time is a strong indicator. Inability to work smarter rather than harder becomes the norm whereby more time is spent in the office for less result. In some cases a business owner may cope with only a few hours’ sleep each night as they find it difficult to relax.
Also the pressure to be feel the need to be contactable at all times is a good indicator as some business owners find it impossible to put their mobile phone or tablet to one side. This is often the result of high expectations a business owner will place upon themselves for getting things done, instead of effectively delegating tasks.
Many business owners report to ICON they know that they need to find more time for themselves but they don’t know how to do this. Sometimes, they report they don’t know if they can take time off to go on holiday.
Being unable to break the cycle can ultimately lead to depression and mental illness. This can have a devastating effect on the individual and can seriously damage the long term prospects for the company, and effect business and personal relationships. The stigma associated with mental health means that it is often thought of as a weakness, which may lead any sufferer to try to conceal how they feel and not seek help.
What can be done to turn the situation? Clearly the first stage is to recognise you have a problem and then the second is to try to seek appropriate help.
Getting back in control and making decisions is an important step in the process. Whilst you may need to seek appropriate medical help, at the same time at ICON we would recommend getting help from an external party to find out ways in which the burden of managing the business can be shared in the short term. In doing this business improvements can often be made fairly quickly as it will be easier to identify and exploit the opportunities facing your business when you work alongside another party.
This will help you feel you can get back in control which is an important step in the process. The main thing is to recognise there is a problem and then to take a decision to do something about it. Failure to take action may result in an ever decreasing spiral of stress and declining results for the business!
Contact your local ICON advisor now, and take that initiative.