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New report finds small business owners face more mental health challenges than general population

Recent research by Xero surveyed over 4,600 small business owners across seven countries, including Australia. The findings showed small business owners across the world experience lower levels of wellbeing than the general population.

Some of the main factors impacting wellbeing were business-related stress, lack of time to rest and recover, the fulfilment of work and whether counselling or support networks were accessed or not. Interestingly, small business owners across the world experience similar levels of wellbeing, despite living in very different local economies and situations. This could reflect the shared experiences of small businesses across the world, or indicate that global factors have a larger impact on stress and wellbeing than local and national factors. The research also found younger small business owners were more likely to experience financial distress, and feel more stressed about their employees' wellbeing than older owners.

To help support wellbeing, the report recommends that small business owners should:

  1. Keep interested, engaged, and fulfilled by learning and innovating. Small business owners who are fulfilled and interested in their work show higher levels of wellbeing. Outsourcing areas of your business that are not fulfilling to you, or learning the skills to manage these areas more efficiently may help improve your satisfaction and wellbeing with work.
    Take the Business Stress Test to identify areas of your business that could use some improvement or support.

  2. Prioritise the mental health of yourself and employees through training. This investment can help nurture a healthier workplace culture and reduce stress for owners and employees.
    A great place to start is Business Wellbeing Online Training for small business owners and employees.

  3. Access counselling and business support networks. These supports can be helpful for small business owners who need help navigating the challenges of running a business. They also provide a safe space for owners to discuss their concerns and work through solutions, with professionals and peers.

    Sign up for New Access for small business owners developed by Beyond Blue to receive counselling, guidance and support.

  4. Prioritise ways to rest, relax and de-stress. Small business owners should take time to rest and recover, even if it means setting aside business matters temporarily. This can help reduce stress and improve wellbeing.

    Create a Wellbeing Plan to help you identify and manage your self-care activities.

Learn more about the research findings in Xero’s The global state of small business owner wellbeing report.

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