Due to the pandemic, many business owners have felt lonely and unsupported at work, which has significantly impacted people's physical and mental health.
Due to the pandemic, many business owners have felt lonely and unsupported at work, which has significantly impacted people's physical and mental health. In fact, it has been reported that over the past two years, eight in ten small business owners regularly lose sleep and worry about the future of their business1. However, Jenine Butroid, the founder and CEO of Supporting Minds, believes that franchising could answer many people’s problems by offering a supportive environment to operate a business.
Starting a business from scratch can often feel like a solitary endeavour. And when you run a business, it can seem like no one else understands the struggles you have to face on a day-to-day basis. Of course, the odd networking event with other business owners can help you but finding a fellow entrepreneur who faces the exact same issues as you can be difficult. This feeling of isolation can negatively affect your mental health and, therefore, your productivity. However, there is an alternative: franchising. Joining a franchise provides you with the support and guidance of a franchisor and a network of other business owners sharing the same experiences as you.
How mental health can affect business productivity
While building a successful business can bring passion, joy and success for some individuals, it will also bring a level of responsibility that can weigh heavily on people's mental health. This can result in sleepless nights, money worries, and a lack of confidence, eventually impacting on our work and those around us.
Mental health issues affect everyone differently. For example, anxiety caused by a poor work-life balance, lack of support and unobtainable targets can cause people to lose concentration, making it difficult to multi-task, carry out day-to-day work activities and reach their goals. Depression at work, which can be caused by boredom or feeling unfulfilled, can also lead to mental and physical health concerns, absenteeism, or a loss of productivity. However, deciding to franchise your business could reduce and potentially help solve these issues and allow you to thrive at work.
Franchising allows you access to a supportive network
Whereas running your own business can be quite isolating, a huge benefit of joining a franchise network is that you become part of a larger community. Being part of a franchise network can help franchisees who suffer from loneliness or are at risk of mental health issues. By joining an extensive network of like-minded people, franchisees have open lines of communication with other franchisees in the network who have had the same training, support and face the same challenges as you on a daily basis. Having this support means franchisees are less likely to feel alone when experiencing problems and are more likely to reach out.
Many franchisors encourage their franchisees to communicate to strengthen the network and their individual businesses. Some franchisors hold regular meetings or annual conferences to bring franchisees together for motivation and collective celebration of their peers' success. This is a fantastic tool for ensuring franchisees can maintain perspective during challenging times. Meeting like-minded business owners who have faced the same issues and emerged triumphant on the other side helps to ensure that franchisees go through their franchising journey with the support and confidence they need.
You have direct access to your franchisor
As well as having access to a great support network, a franchise will allow you direct access to your franchisor in times of difficulty and demotivation. Whether you are part of a small or large franchise operation, a franchise support team will be in place to offer ongoing support from the franchisor themselves.
Having clear lines of communication with the franchisor allows for positive company culture and overall greater success for the franchise business. These, combined with a franchisee support team, will enable franchisees who are starting to struggle, to be open and honest about the difficulties they are experiencing and feel confident that in doing so they will be supported and assisted wherever possible. Having open communication will also allow the franchisor support team to identify when a franchisee might be struggling but has not yet opened up about them, allowing them to offer support and advice before a crisis develops.
Franchising offers the security of a proven business model
Because a franchise is an already established, successful business model, a franchisee can take comfort in the fact that their franchisor will have made mistakes and learned from them. This means there is also reduced stress attached to franchising as there is a detailed operations manual to help them avoid making the same pitfalls. Of course, there are highs and lows attached to running any business, but you can alleviate a lot of pressure by following a proven model.
Since a franchise is a proven model, the likelihood is that a franchisor will have put structures in place to identify and, if appropriate, support a franchisee who may be at-risk of developing mental health difficulties. If a franchisee is struggling with their mental health, it will undoubtedly impact the franchisee's business and performance not only in terms of customer relationships but also the whole franchise network. And in franchising, when the franchisee fails, so does the franchisor. This means it is in the franchisor's best interests to ensure franchisees are supported, happy, and healthy.
Utilising the support offered by the franchisor is not a display of weakness but a sensible business decision that will help to build and strengthen both your business and the trust between you and your franchisor.
1 Money Advice Trust, 2021, Building back business.