Market research into the mental health of business owners

In this blog, Natasha McDonough talks about the market research the team at MMC Research & Marketing conducted in 2022, two years on from the original research conducted during the pandemic, and notably during lockdown.

Escalating mental health issues across the population have certainly made the headlines over the past few years, and we’ve read about how levels of anxiety and depression have increased throughout the pandemic. However, articles specifically on business owners’ mental health rarely seem to get any coverage.

When lockdown hit, I, like other business owners I spoke to at the time, started to suffer from rising anxiety levels, mostly centred around keeping the business afloat, as well as the joys of home schooling and generally not knowing what the hell was going to happen to the economy week by week

That’s why in May 2020, I decided to see what business owners were struggling with and what kind of support they would need.

The survey the MMC Research & Marketing team conducted found out that a staggering 54% of business owners said that their mental health was worse than before the pandemic. Two-thirds of participants said that this was fuelled by concern around cashflow, and work being cancelled.  However, 61% said that when they reached out and talked to fellow business owners their stress levels improved.

In 2022, I wanted to see how things had changed, I wanted to understand whether business owners had become more resilient or had become more risk adverse.

I presumed that they’d be more risk adverse, but actually those that took part in the survey said that they weren’t, and almost seemed raring to go. Verbatim comments certainly confirmed that business owners feel more resilient and said that if they could get through lockdowns, they could get through anything.

There was a particular stat that really surprised me, in that 48% of business owners that we surveyed said that they were more likely to want to retreat from others. At the time of pushing the survey out, it seemed that they were only just finding their feet again in terms of networking and meetings.  However, when asked what helps them manage their mental health, they said that talking to fellow business owners was key!

The takeaway from all of this is to encourage business owners to reach out and talk to other business owners. My recommendation would be to check in with someone that you haven’t seen or heard from in a long time.


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