Home' Border Enterprise : Winter-Spring 2010 Contents 18 enterprise
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They become depressed about the state of the
business and that makes it harder for them to be
effective at work.''
Because they were no longer having the same
impact at work, the business performed even worse.
It could be even harder for small business owners
in rural and regional areas, where physical isolation
could add to their problems.
If possible, a small business owner should try to
contact other small business people, she said.
"COSBOA and other bodies such as local
chambers of commerce have networking groups
for small business people, which we urge them
"The answer to their problems sometimes
might be to just to sit and talk to someone else
with similar concerns for an hour each week.
"That alone might help their well-being, which
in turn might help them sustain their business.''
Small business owners usually expect long hours
and setbacks, but it's the loneliness that many
find their greatest obstacle, writes JASON CLOUT.
FEEL THE STRESS
THE isolation of working at home or in
a small shop or factory by themselves
can wear down many in the small
and medium enterprise sector. In the
most severe cases, it can lead to
depression and cause major problems for their
family and business.
Small-business analyst and author Andrew
Griffiths said small business owners were asking
"At seminars they used to ask technical matters
like how to manage their finances better. Now they
are more likely to ask how to deal with being alone
The financial crisis had exacerbated the
problems. As many businesses struggled with
a tougher economy, their owners had begun
to question if they could also deal with the
remoteness in their working life.
"When times were good we told them not to
spend too much on their lifestyle in case things
"But now the message is, don't fall too much into
despair. It's important they find someone who they
can speak to about their business.''
In Mr Griffiths' experience, men are less likely
to seek help than women small business owners.
"Women do seem to have a better network for
discussing what's going on. The last thing often
a man wants to do is tell his family or his friends
there's a problem.''
The chief executive of the Council of Small
Business Organisations of Australia, Jaye
Radisich, said mental health issues were an even
bigger problem in small businesses than in the
"The business owner has to sustain the
business while keeping the family afloat and their
staff on the payroll,'' she said. However, most
small businesses did not want to discuss their
problems. Ms Radisich said many felt it was a
sign of weakness in front of their family, friends or
competitors to admit they were having business or
"It can become a vicious cycle. They might be
having cash flow problems with interest rates rising.
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