How to Manage a Personal Crisis When You’re a Business Owner


Personal problems affect everyone, and at times we all experience major upheavals and serious life events. These issues are hard enough for anyone to deal with, but if you’re trying to run a business at the same time, you have an added weight of responsibility. Not only does your livelihood depend on you being able to work productively, but you could face serious financial problems if your business starts to suffer, and there are the employees, customers, and suppliers to consider as well.

It’s great to have an optimistic outlook and not worry about the possibility of a personal crisis, and it certainly does you no good to fret obsessively about events that haven’t and may never occur. However, major personal problems could affect anyone at any time, so while you don’t want to have a negative outlook on life, it’s prudent to have a plan in place should anything in your life go awry.

Relationship problems

Even the happiest of marriages or partnerships encounter rocky periods at times, and when you’re a hard-working entrepreneur, your relationship is bound to be under pressure. Some driven individuals can become focused on their business,and the balance can be difficult to get right, as everything else takes second place, and it’s not unusual for business owners to neglect their personal relationships.

The best cure is prevention, so if you’re in a relationship don’t take your partner for granted, and work on nurturing your relationship to keep it strong and healthy. You can’t always control another person’s feelings of course, and sometimes despite your best efforts, relationships break down. If you’re facing a separation or divorce, you could be feeling a range of different emotions depending on what caused the breakdown.

Business owners often struggle with the idea that their partner could well be entitled to a share of their business, too, which adds even more stress to the situation. Throwing yourself into your work may seem like a good way of coping, but beware of the possible pitfalls.

Keeping yourself busy is no bad thing, as long as you are genuinely distracted from your problems by your work. If you’re going through the motions workwise and your brain is obsessively going over the crisis, not only will this do nothing to ease your stress, but your lack of focus could lead to errors being made. Festering emotions can make you short-tempered with staff and customers, and you can lose the support of those around you if you’re making the work atmosphere uncomfortable.

It’s essential to have someone to talk to about the situation, and professional counseling is one way to manage your feelings and get through the separation process. Talking to friends and family can help relieve stress, but discussing your feelings with someone who has an objective viewpoint will provide the most effective remedy. You should also engage the best legal help you can to safeguard your assets and make the process as fair apossible.

Illness and accident

Physical health is fundamental to your ability to run your business. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful business owner if you have a chronic health condition or disability; what it does mean is that any serious illnesses or injuries, whatever your normal state of health is, can have a devastating effect on your ability to run your business. Acute illnesses like pneumonia or heart failure, or a car wreck that lands you in hospital, will render you incapable of working, and usually, happen with little or no warning. This is where some forward thinking can help.

You should have a system in place so that if you’re seriously ill or injured, your staff know who is in charge and how to keep the business going. This is another reason for maintaining good communications with your staff and keeping them informed of what’s happening in the business, as they then have access to all the data they need and aren’t struggling to get to grips with customers, suppliers, and accounts.

If you work alone, is there someone who could stand in for you at short notice? Maybe your partner, or a close friend or relative – maybe a colleague who knows the business. Even if they can’t run the business in your absence, they could at least keep customers and suppliers informed about what’s going on. You’ll find most people are very understanding of your position as a sole trader if you fall ill and can’t fulfill their orders, as long as they know what’s happening.

If your illness was caused by food poisoning, or you had an accident that was someone else’s fault, don’t forget to consult a personal injury law firm and speak to the experts, like these attorneys, about your entitlement to compensation. You could be facing financial loss in your business, personal suffering, and the risk of post-traumatic stress, not to mention the medical bills. If you’re eligible to claim for compensation, that could be critical in covering your losses.


You’ll inevitably lose people who mean a great deal to you over the years, and the degree to which their passing affects you depends both on your relationship with them and the nature of their death. Only you know how affected you are bybereavement, and again, you may well benefit from counseling if you’re struggling to get over the loss. It’s important to take the time that you need to recoverand to understand the feelings you are having and further to realize that these feelings are normal.

You can’t avoid every possible crisis, but you can be prepared to manage them. Preventing problems from becoming too serious will help, so if you’ve been having pains in your chest, get to the doctor for a check-up rather than soldiering on until your heart gives out. Your business can survive without you providing you have a contingency plan in place, so always try and be prepared!

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