COVID-19 is the number one worry of small business owners

- July 14, 2020 2 MIN READ

More than a third of small business owners are worried about the COVID-19 pandemic

26 per cent are most concerned with cash flow or finances.

9 per cent of businesses are worried about attracting and/or retaining customers

7 per cent are concerned they aren’t spending enough time with family.

COVID-19 is the number one business-related cause of mental health challenges for small business according to new research by MYOB.

One in three business owners (36 per cent) report their major stress is COVID 19 compared with a quarter of business owners (26 per cent) who cite finances as a concern. The findings are from MYOB’s long-running Business Monitor report. The latest incarnation surveyed the attitudes of small business owners during April and May, at the height of the coronavirus crisis.

MYOB Chief Employee Experience Officer, Helen Lea, said the impact of COVID on the small business sector is hard to overstate, as evidenced by the data.

“Almost half of small business owners and operators agree that running a business has had a direct impact on any feelings of stress and anxiety, with one in five business owners saying that running their business in 2020 has caused depression.

“Businesses whose owners and operators are aged between 18 and 39 were most likely to agree that they had felt anxiety or stress (68 per cent agreed).

“We have been talking to small businesses about their mental health and wellbeing for the last couple of years and recently launched a partnership with Smiling Mind to create dedicated small business owner content in the Smiling Mind app. We could not have predicted how important this content would become for the 2.4 million small businesses in Australia,” Lea said.

Retail and hospitality businesses were most likely to state the key business-related cause of mental health challenges was the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact (46 per cent).

“As part of our research we drilled down into how small business owners are feeling. We asked 780 business owners what their most immediate concern is, with the most common response having to access Federal support to supplement incomes (29 per cent) and a close second was their mental health (26%) tied with business and personal finance (26 per cent). It’s clear the uncertainty of small business owners’ finances and cash flow is having a direct impact on their mental wellbeing,” Lea added.

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said looking after your mental health is more important now than ever, and there are resources to support small business owners.

“There’s never been a tougher time to be in business., Carnell said.

“Many small business owners will be focused on staying afloat right now, but it’s important to balance that with looking after yourself. he fact is, 1 in 4 Australians will experience depression or anxiety in their lifetime. Small business owners’ mental health may be intrinsically linked with the state of their small business.

“It’s important small business owners know that there is help available if they need it. The work MYOB is doing with Smiling Mind is extremely useful for small business owners. My Business Health, a free web portal on ASBFEO’s website, offers dedicated holistic support to employers and sole traders,” Carnell said.

For more information on ways you can get access to mental health tools and resources for small businesses visit: My Business Health and Smiling Mind or download the Smiling Mind app.  

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