Whether you are a veteran business owner in your community or a scrappy up-and-comer, no small business has been immune to the devastation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Most Americans are reporting that the Coronavirus has had a negative effect on their small business in the past year, with employment plummeting as small businesses bear the brunt of national job loss.
It is stressful to start your own business in a normal year, and in the past year, small business owners have felt unprecedented levels of emotional and financial pressure. Let’s explore some tools to manage small business stress to keep the doors open in the most valuable pillars of community life.
1) Take Care Of Yourself First
Before you can invest in your community and make meaningful changes that will benefit your employees and their families, you have to take care of yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and taking time for practices like intentional rest, meditation, or mindfulness can reduce stress and increase your productivity. Make sure you are eating nourishing food, moving your body, and getting some vitamin D.
2) Focus On What You Can Control
The pandemic crashed into our lives and turned everything upside down, but take comfort in knowing that we are all going through this together. You may not know how to cure Covid-19, but you do know how to focus on the things in your orbit you can control.
Focusing on what you can control and changing your mindset can help keep pandemic-related stress and anxiety at bay. For example, asking yourself a question like, “how can I keep my staff and customers safe and comfortable?” is more productive than “when will this all be over so I can go back to normal?”
3) Safety First
If you’re proactive about setting safety guidelines within your small business, you’ll minimize future stress down the line. Decide whether you want to set an occupancy limit, mandate masks, or keep doors and windows open during business hours and clearly state your expectations. Keep yourself and your employees healthy so you can stay open and working. Whatever safety guidelines (or lack thereof) you choose to enforce in your store, be prepared to field questions with a smile.
4) Reach Out For Help
Don’t be afraid to lean on your support system. Just because you own your own business doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Reaching out to friends or family and voicing your feelings of stress and anxiety can be very cathartic and helpful. Also, consider reaching out to other small business owners; They are on the same rollercoaster you are, and chances are they could be a listening ear or a helpful resource in these difficult times.
If you are experiencing financial stress, don’t be afraid to consider contacting a bank or searching for online payday loans to get you back on your feet. It’s also worth looking into pandemic assistance programs provided by the government to see if you qualify for a loan or grant.
5) Take Time To Unplug
Owning your own business, you probably experience a never-ending barrage of text messages pinging, phones ringing, and emails rushing into your inbox at the speed of light. On top of all that, it can feel exhausting to field pandemic-related questions from employees and customers all day. Taking mindful moments each day to unplug from technology and clear your mind can help reduce stress and relieve anxiety even if your inbox is full.
If you are a small business owner, you have likely risked it all to stay afloat this year and provide for yourself, your family, and your employees. Be sure to take some time to unplug, meditate, spend time in nature, and reach out to the others in your life for support when you are feeling overwhelmed by pandemic-related stress. Most of all, be sure to praise yourself for all the hard work and sacrifice it takes to keep your business going for the good of your family and community!