Managing your mental health as a franchisor

Rebecca Newenham, a seasoned entrepreneur and franchise consultant, emphasises the importance of proactively managing your mental health as a franchisor

Managing your mental health as a franchisor

Leading a franchise network can be exciting and rewarding, especially when things are going well. However, franchisors can feel the pressure and weight of responsibility for their franchisees, particularly during tough times. As a franchisor, managing your mental health is crucial to supporting yourself, your team and your business to success.

Mental health is a significant and increasingly prevalent issue, affecting people’s lives both at work and at home. According to Mental Health First Aid, “A recent report found that almost half of UK workers are ‘running on empty,’ with burnout, mental ill health, and work-related stress now costing the economy £28 billion annually. Poor mental health accounts for more than half of all work-related illnesses. Around 51% of long-term sick leave is due to stress, depression, or anxiety.”

Poor mental health could already be affecting you, your franchisees and your business. But no one should be suffering in silence. There are several steps you can take to support your team and prioritise your own wellbeing.

Maintain healthy boundaries

As a committed franchisor who cares about your team, it’s easy to find yourself taking on other people’s problems. Yes, you want to support your team, but you don’t have a magic wand and can’t fix everything. 

Be a listening ear, but encourage struggling franchisees to get help. Suggest talking to friends and family to share how they are feeling. Encourage them to seek professional help and signpost them to appropriate support. How they are feeling is completely normal, but it won’t change if they don’t make changes. As inspirational motivational speaker Mel Robbins says, “Being present to your emotions, giving yourself what you need, and asking for support is a sign of STRENGTH, not weakness.”

Celebrate every win, however small

Particularly when times are tough, whether individually for a franchisee or for the business as a whole, it’s so important to celebrate success. Encourage your team to come up with their win of the week or month. It doesn’t even have to be work-related – it could simply be they managed to get out for a walk at lunchtime or get to their child’s sports day on time. 

A little positivity can go a long way – not just for individuals who might be struggling but for your whole team. There is growing research about the benefits of positive thinking on our physical and mental health and the health and wellbeing of those around us. I encourage my franchisees to share their highlights of the week on LinkedIn. It’s a great exercise for them to reflect on the positives and share their success, encouraging others to do the same.

Model open and honest conversations

How often have you answered the question ‘How are you?’ with ‘I’m fine’, even though you didn’t mean it? Many people find talking about their mental health hard. Brushing people’s questions off might feel easier than tackling difficult feelings. Completing my Mental Health First Aid training boosted my skills and confidence in supporting my team with their mental health. But it made me much more aware of the importance of my mental health, too. 

Being open and honest with the people around us is essential at work and at home. As a franchisor, you don’t have to deal with everything alone. Being open with your franchise network about any challenges you face helps them understand your actions and behaviours and encourages them to speak up. 

Invest in specialist support

I highly recommend Mental Health First Aid Training and investing in the skills of experts like Jen Chapman-Boffin, as I did for my Get Ahead team. The BFA has recently launched a new training programme specifically designed for franchisors and their own wellbeing, managing the weight of responsibility that comes with being a franchisor. The course provides tools and mechanisms to build confidence and a structure that can be easily implemented with an action plan to make an instant difference to your network. 

During Mental Health Awareness Month this May, take positive action for yourself and your franchise.

Rebecca Newenham
Rebecca Newenham