The expression “The universe is laughing while we’re making plans” has never been more true. 2020 has been a roller coaster of a ride and no one has been more deeply affected than the small business owner. Even on a good day, we as entrepreneurs are doing our best to manage workflows, keep customers happy, balance our bank accounts and make sure our employees get paid. Add in the additional chaos and stress of a global pandemic….and well….it’s bringing many to their breaking point. I’m no stranger to this, and I fully admit I’ve definitely had days where the future has felt pretty bleak. It’s hard being your own cheerleader and even harder when everything comes off the rails.
Case in point: last week I wanted to write a blog about business planning. Not only did my adorable foster puppy pull my laptop onto the floor and smash it, but my back went out…again. Productivity crashed to a halt and it’s easy to beat yourself up when the work starts to stack up and nothing feels like it’s getting done. However, I had to offer myself a different perspective. Perhaps the universe wanted me to slow down and play with this little furry beast. Maybe a new laptop was just what the doctor ordered. And just maybe I needed to be forced to lay down and take a nap, cause heaven knows I’d never do that on my own because of my serious case of F.O.M.O.
Maybe it’s time we started looking at 2020 differently as well? All of our business plans have been thrown out the window. However, let’s not forget that we chose the less known path of entrepreneurship. We’ve had to move through many unknowns along the way and simply “figure it out.” Some would say, that we actually enjoy the chaos a little bit. We’re never bored and it forces us to learn how to problem solve in very creative ways. What has 2020 brought to light for you? What truths has it uncovered? What new clients has it pulled into your stratosphere? What pain points has it exacerbated? I ask these questions as they are ones I’m asking myself right now. I think now, more than ever, it’s a really good time for reflection, especially before we head into the wild unknown of this holiday season.
Here are some tips I offer right now as we all try to stay sane and navigate this tricky time:
- Journal – Reflect daily on your business. What do you want to accomplish today? Sometimes when you stay in the day and don’t future trip you can get a lot more done! You may also want to take a minute or two at business close to contemplate your day. What went really well? What didn’t? What could you do better?
- Stay Accountable – Find an Accountability Buddy. It honestly will be the best decision you’ve made for yourself and your business, Covid-19 or not. As we revel in the fact that we are our own boss, it also creates a huge loophole. With no one to report to it lets us procrastinators off the hook and slows down our productivity. Try partnering with another small business owner and have weekly Zoom calls to keep each other on track.
- Collaborate – It’s been powerful to watch local businesses gather together in solidarity. With whom could you join forces? Perhaps join with other amazing brands in your space for a Giveaway or a Bundle. People love to support small businesses and by collaborating you expand your reach, make new friends and develop a sense of community.
- Rest – Might seem counter intuitive, but don’t forget we as humans are part of the animal kingdom. Current events have brought up so much uncertainty and much like the gazelle trying to avoid the tiger, we are constantly ‘on guard’, often subconsciously. Our bodies are preparing us for another “attack.” In our case, the unknown can often be scarier than knowing what’s ahead. Make sure to work shorter days (yes, four hour days are a thing now) and take extra time to rest. I promise you’ll be more productive in the end.
- Give Thanks – Sometimes it can be hard to find the silver lining, but it’s there, I promise. Maybe seeing business slow down has given you more time to reconnect with family. Maybe you’re business is thriving even in these uncertain times. No matter what your circumstances I’m sure this experience has given you some time to reflect upon what really matters in your life. Start there. Start with the things that bring your soul joy.
I promise you that “this too shall pass.” I think any small business owner who makes it through Covid-19 in one piece deserves a metal! I know I’ll be making myself a trophy as a little memento of the most unusual time in my human history and how Bubblegum and Duct Tape kept on trucking, even when all hope felt lost. Keep on keeping on. You got this!