Business researchers/psychologists attest to the fact that emotional stability is essential for entrepreneurs because of the insecurity they have to deal with and that emotionally stable entrepreneurs tend to be more effective.
This stability for the business owner is vital because small businesses have lesser ability to absorb shocks from external forces so the entrepreneur who has invested so much need to be able to act in a rational manner.
Also, entrepreneurs as humans usually have relationships with family members and others to deal with, as problems in this area can affect the entrepreneurs’ performance in business. Very importantly, also, is the physical health of the entrepreneur which could limit his/her performance in business.
To address these issues, the women entrepreneurs’ group under the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) at its regular network meeting in Lagos brought in experts to explore these aspects of the entrepreneur’s life which can improve or reduce effectiveness in business. Banke Akinrimisi and Atinuke Ogunkoya of the Centre for Women’s Health and Information and Ayotunde Oyedeji, Clinical Director, Roding Hospital were the keynote speakers at this forum organised by NECA Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW) in Lagos.
Akinrimisi said, “In this age of busy social and work schedules, balancing the needs of career, education etc. with management of the home and other personal needs can be challenging for women, men, boys and girls. Conflict due to tension between roles results when stress generated while performing one role affects the way a person fulfills the demands of other roles. However it is more challenging for women often because of the multiple roles that the society expects them to play in addition to different forms of violence and discriminatory experiences that they are exposed to.”
According to her, issues that cause emotional instability include high level of stress, depression, anxiety and mood disorders, high cost of medical consultations, physical illness, negative dietary habits, poor relationship with subordinates, family members, alcohol dependence/drug consumption, dissatisfaction with conjugal and family life and so on.
Entrepreneurs however need to watch out because the conflict causes can be either way. It could be the business challenges that could lead to health, relationship and other problems which would then bounce back on the business. Some of the business challenges Akinrimisi mentioned include the city life challenges such as transportation, high demands of the business, in situation where the small business owner has so much to do because the business is not yet strong enough to employ enough staff, governmental failures such as lack of provision of electricity, poor roads, no water, insecurity, all of which the business has to provide to survive or do without and inadequate time which small business owners have to contend with.
To balance lifestyle and work, Akinrimisi urged the entrepreneurs to get their priorities right, decide which things are very important to them and pursue those things first. On time management, she said, “Drop activities that sap your time or energy. Take stock of activities that do not enhance your career or personal life, and minimise the time you spend on them. Rethink your errands – delegation of duties, get effective aids including technology and learn to say no- that is to things or people that take your time without corresponding value.”
The other two speakers also spoke on critical aspects of relationship and health management. Of note is the need to do constant health checks, correct poor dietary and other harmful habits calling for all the necessary help needed.
NNEW is a platform established in 2005 under the aegis of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association to promote and nurture entrepreneurship amongst women. It is a forum for women entrepreneurs to focus on issues that are crucial to the thriving of their businesses, an institution for fostering an enabling environment towards the success of women in entrepreneurship. Many of NNEW’s trainings are however opened to male entrepreneurs as well.