Research - 24.09.2019 - 00:00 

Health as a key factor for success in entrepreneurship

If wanting to be more economically successful and satisfied, one has to invest in one's physical and mental health. For example, this can even compensate for a lack of education, as proven by the Swiss Research Institute of Small Business and Entrepreneurship at the HSG (SME-HSG).

24 September 2019. Any entrepreneur suffering from physical and mental issues is at a clear disadvantage, firstly with regards to being financially successful, but also for increasing non-monetary goals such as wellbeing with one's own business. This is the result of the latest study by Prof. Dr, Isabella Hatak and Prof. Dr. Haibo Zhou, who recently appeared in the high-ranking trade journal Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. The effect of physical and mental health having a positive influence on the business success has an especially strong impact for entrepreneurs without employees and those with a lower level of education. For the latter, even to such an extent that the factor of health compensates for the lack of higher education with regard to chances of success.

Mental health has a particular impact in men

The study moreover shows that the mental health for male entrepreneurs has a greater influence on financial success than for female entrepreneurs. A possible explanation for this can be found in biological research, explains Prof. Dr. Isabella Hatak. The hormones which are responsible for reproductive success in women leads to a more pronounced social cognition and empathy. These characteristics are important for business success. At the same time, it is precisely these hormones which lead to women suffering from mental health issues such as depression significantly more frequently, which in turn has a negative impact on business success. "It therefore comes down to a 'zero-sum game' with regard to impact of mental health of female entrepreneurs on their financial success."

But it is not only the health status of the entrepreneur themselves which is a factor for success. The health of a spouse also has a significant impact. If they are in physically good shape, this has a direct impact on the financial success of the business. If the spouse is also in good mental shape, this also makes the entrepreneur more satisfied with their own (business) life.

Promoting health promotes the economy

For their study, both authors analysed more than 5608 entrepreneurs' households between 2002 and 2015 based on the representative panel data from the German institute for economic research in Berlin. For entrepreneurs, the results of the study show that it is worth investing in one's own health as well as that of one's spouse.

But politics could also draw conclusions from the results. Prof. Dr. Isabella Hatak: "Promoting the success of entrepreneurship must start with Entrepreneurship Education, since business health is 'everyone's business'. Strengthening this not only contributes towards a reduction in health expenditure, but also towards a sustainable implementation of economic potential such as innovation, growth and competitiveness through entrepreneurship." On an international level it would therefore be important to promote preventative health measures for entrepreneurs – and their spouses – for example with tax deductions for the costs of fitness, meditation or yoga programmes.

Picture: Adobe Stock / magele-picture

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