Beyond the money, theft in local small business retail is a mental health challenge.
There is the situation of the person stealing, the customer, the supplier, the co-owner or the employee. Often there can be mental health challenges associated with or leading up to their actions.
Then, there is the mental health challenge for the business owner(s) following the theft.
In our work with local small business retailers dealing with theft from their business, we have seen mental health affected.
we have seen retailers so affected that they quickly sell their business, opting for a lifestyle change as a result.
Theft is personal. We get that there are plenty of ‘experts’ who say theft is not personal. But in our experience, it is. Your business is like your home. Theft is a violation of your home. This why it hits hard, why it hurst so much.
When we discover theft in a retail business we are helping we suggest the owners reach out to professional services for mental health support. Advice we have found useful includes:
Be sure of the facts. How much was stolen and how it was stolen. These specific details can help you draw a line under the situation.
Do something. Take an action, or actions, to protect against a recurrence. Acting on the situation can provide confidence and strength.
Be open with others. Sharing what happened and what it has meant to you can, of itself, nurture support.
Cleanse. The theft situation may have left you with an employee or two you no longer want in the business, a supplier to drop, a customer ti disallow. Take action to shut the door.
Exercise. Plenty off mental health professionals advocate active walking outdoors as a good step for calming and clearing your mind. Find the exercise that works best for you, walking, running, swimming, and engage in that exercise. From what we read and have been told, doing this away from you’re business regularly is key.
Try to not obsess. We have seen retailers become obsessed about theft following an incident. That can be debilitating and take joy from the running of the business. Find a balance that works for you where you can be vigilant, but not obsessed.
While dealing with the practicalities of theft is important in any local small business retail setting, dealing with your own mental health is important too. Work on it. be aware. Take care of yourself. And, be in control, rather than the crime controlling you.