Many people view small business ownership as a stress-free, fun existence based on encounters with smiling receptionists, cheerful customer service representatives, or chatty technicians. Who can blame these people for not realizing that the facade of smiling faces can conceal financial worries, long hours, illness, and a fistful of other stress-inducing circumstances?

These situations in small businesses can be more dangerous to an owner’s health than similar situations in big businesses. Big businesses offer paid-for employee assistance programs and other resources that a small business owner might not have access to. Small business owners are very much on their own in times of crisis, and that’s when a healthcare professional becomes an important resource.

My own experience with business-related stress, the suicide deaths of three small-business associates, and the near suicide death of another all underscored the necessity to include a healthcare professional as a character in this book. In the context of this chapter, “healthcare professional” includes any healthcare professional appropriate to the malady—general practitioners, specialists, psychiatrists, chiropractors, ophthalmologists, and so forth.