Business Owner Wellbeing: The Key to Growth

Pierre Dutaret - CEO and founder of Libeo

By Pierre Dutaret, CEO and Co-Founder, Libeo

The impact of COVID-19 and Brexit

After over 18 months of business uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit, there are rising concerns over business owners’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. Research by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) revealed that over two-thirds of business owners, particularly those in command of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) or very small enterprises (VSEs), prioritise their companies’ financial success before mental health. More staggeringly, 96% admit to keeping the stress of running a business ‘bottled up’.

In addition, Simply Business recently surveyed almost 800 small business owners in the UK and found that 82% reported poor mental health in the last 12 months: Prioritising mental health needs to be at the forefront of SME business owners’ agendas to guarantee business success.

For SMEs, prolonged periods of economic unrest can potentially cause a damaging impact on owners’ wellbeing and broader company culture. Small business owners are aware of the limited resources, such as hiring people or covering the cost of employee absences. Business owners must devise a strategic plan that deciphers the cost of potential workplace issues and how much it would cost to solve them. By having clear practices and structures in place, business owners can equally ensure the wellbeing and health of employees – including themselves – is monitored to drive the company’s growth.

The importance of a good mental state

A good mental state will encourage business owners to exhibit a strong leadership culture that motivates, inspires and drives productivity to increase profitability and improve employee engagement. In addition, higher employee engagement often leads to higher productivity and innovation. Therefore, from a business standpoint, it is in the business owner’s best interest to prioritise their wellbeing and mental health.

Businesses are more likely to succeed when CEOs are in a healthy state of mind, empowering them and their employees to think creatively, engage with products and services with a critical focus and incentivising employees to do so. By harnessing digital innovation, business owners can focus on the things that matter – reducing time spent worrying about making ends meet at the end of the month or having enough time to devise new growth strategies while completing other tasks at hand. Moreover, using tools that automate time-consuming processes can greatly aid business owners in giving them the security to complete tasks accurately and in a timely fashion.

Staying ahead of the competition

A significant stressor that can keep any business owner awake at night, particularly when it comes to SMEs and VSEs, is competition. The demanding pressure of running a business in a competitive market can be highly taxing. Getting a business off the ground, gaining traction against competitors, and establishing a reputation among clients is not easy. Business owners must adopt healthy practices ensuring they have the financial capacities to excel in today’s market, with difficulties exacerbated by the economic recuperation following crises brought on by both COVID-19 and Brexit. Small businesses’ means of circumventing hardships may involve making calculated decisions that allow the business to operate effectively.

When it comes to companies’ finances, any mistake or unforeseen circumstance can cause significant financial losses, not to mention other indirect costs which may come about, for example, due to unpaid invoices to suppliers. Moreover, such cases may cause further reputational costs to companies, who will have to mitigate them so as not to detract consumers from procuring their products or services. Therefore, financial awareness, tools, and software are imperative and can provide invaluable insight to owners by quickly gathering and sorting information.

Focusing on the things that matter

Our research shows that, on average, companies, and employees can lose up to 4 days a month on tasks such as invoicing and data entry, alongside the increased stress caused by such tasks. When quantified, it is incredible to think about what else could be achieved, especially regarding employee engagement and business strategy. Effective time management takes many forms, and when poorly managed, burdens business owners.

For business owners to focus, processes need to be as efficient as possible. Business owners can do this by employing automation and digitisation for small and time-consuming tasks performed by a machine or algorithm, enabling workers to focus their time on human-centric, qualitative functions that a device would not perform. For example, data entry and filing tasks are sometimes subject to human error. Therefore, outsourcing these tasks to digital tools for greater precision and accuracy offers company owners greater security.

Automation can also create greater financial stability, allowing business owners to manage cash flow proactively should unforeseen circumstances come about. This enables business owners to plan for future expansions in their business, managing their resources accordingly.

More efficient time management and stability can lead to a healthy balance between business owners’ and employees’ personal and professional lives. Rather than working long nights and weekends to finish arduous and repetitive tasks, having time allocated explicitly for work and personal matters allows business owners to engage with their products and services with a clear mind and sharp focus. In addition, implementing strategic timelines reduces monotonous workloads and dedicates more time to building a solid company culture and growth.

Rebecca Grewcock