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The Green Sheet Online Edition

September 12, 2022 • Issue 22:09:01

With lingering pandemic fallout, SMBs face new worries

By Chad Otar
Lending Valley

As the news has constantly reminded us over the last two years, COVID has had a severe effect on many small businesses, driving a large number of them to close. But only recently has come word of how the virus has affected small business owners. According to a survey by Capital One Business, small business owners across the country are experiencing a damaging effect on their psychological well-being and capacity to preserve work/ life balance as a consequence of handling pandemic-related interruptions for over two years.

The World Health Organization defines burnout as "chronic stress that is not properly handled." Burnout can trigger a disaster in any company, especially if owners are unable to seek assistance. As per the Small Business Administration, 81 percent of small businesses, or 25.7 million people, have no staff.

The state of small businesses

Following are further findings in the Capital One Business survey, which provide a sense of how small businesses are still infected by the virus.

  • Fatigue and burnout: Burnout is disproportionately harming minority company owners in the United States. In addition, 42 percent of small business owners have reportedly experienced recent fatigue, and over a quarter had experienced near-constant mental tiredness.
  • No time off: More than 52 percent of company owners have not taken a vacation in the last year. In addition to people reporting feeling run down and psychologically fatigued, 62 percent of company owners revealed working longer hours to keep their businesses from closing.
  • Mental health issues: 45 percent of small business owners said that conducting a business during COVID has harmed their mental health. While a third stated they couldn't get enough sleep.
  • Work/life imbalance: More than a quarter (26 percent) of company owners said their work-life balance is much worse now than it was before the outbreak of the virus.

The Capital One Business survey was carried out among small business owners in the United States. Small firms are those with yearly revenues of less than $20 million. The poll gathered feedback from 1,000 company owners. Morning Consult polled an internet panel from Nov. 17 to Nov. 21, 2021. For company owners, the accuracy margin is +/-3 percent.

Some hope for the future

Many small company owners, on the other hand, are nothing if not hopeful. Based on the poll, more than half (52 percent) of company owners anticipate their work/life balance to improve within the next six months, and 63 percent expect economic conditions to improve in their region in 2022.

Given the importance of small enterprises in the U.S. economy, a lot depends on their owners' capacity to recover from COVID's impact on their well-being. As per the Small Business Administration, the United States has 31.7 million small businesses. Well over 80 percent, or 25.7 million, have no workers;19 percent, or 6 million, have paid staff.

What should small business owners do?

Because small business owners are generally deeply dedicated to and enthusiastic about their occupation, burnout can develop without them realizing it. But how can someone know if they are burning out?

To answer this, search for tiny signals like negative thoughts such as, I'm feeling overwhelmed with all my emails. However, a dead giveaway of burnout is avoidance cues. They include statements such as, I wish I could stay asleep till noon today. A furious outburst against a loved one is the most evident sign. That is a clear indication that there is something else upsetting you.

Note: I referred to the following in researching this story:

end of article

Chad Otar is CEO of Lending Valley Inc. For information about the company, please visit www.lendingvalley.com. To reach Chad, send an email to chad@lendingvalley.com.

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