As Covid-19 continues to affect how businesses operate, your business is no exception. It’s easy to let uncertainty and doubt flood your mind about what the future holds for your business. Your gut reaction might be to overlook that feeling and keep pressing forward with your business. But this is where you can find yourself hurting not only your business and employees, but your health.
But before we go into the different methods of managing such anxiety, it’s important to bring up examples of business owners who either didn’t or weren’t able to take the time to confront such prevalent stress. It is easy to look at successful business owners (Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk) who have a positive public perception of being an ideal entrepreneur and taking great risks with the odds against them. What isn’t highlighted in their career is the moments of weakness and vulnerability they felt when their business wasn’t taking off and faced with crippling debt. Jessica Bruder mentions in her article about the struggles that business owners face that “rather than showing vulnerability, business leaders have practiced what social psychiatrists call impression management--also known as ‘fake it till you make it.” A practice like this can be second nature for some business owners but can be fatal to your business if the right resources are not at your disposal. Bruder also goes on to display examples of business owners who were unable to make it out of the dark and into the light. Ben Huh, the CEO of the Cheezburger Network, discusses his suicidal thoughts following a failed startup in 2001.
Now this all may sound dreadful especially writing this amid a global pandemic. But that doesn't mean that all hope is lost. There are still many tactics small business owners can utilize to help mitigate the dread of what’s ahead.
If you have created meaningful and impacting relationships with your colleagues, reaching out to them is a great first step. Just because you are a small business owner, it does not disqualify you for reaching out to them. You may also find yourself with a sense of comfort knowing that your peers are feeling the same emotions and worry. If you don’t have such a support group, there are various networking groups and events to virtually attend to as well.
This one isn’t limited to just business owners but anyone. It is very easy to let your mind wander and to panic about events happening around you (a global pandemic for example). Restrictions and mandates are being issued in a variety of ways throughout the nation and it can be overwhelming finding which ones impact your business. One of the first things to do is to simply remind yourself that these kinds of events are not in your power. Setting your priorities and sticking with them is a solid first step. Evaluate what is essential and what can be tackled within your realm.
Take time to reflect on what your role entails. Then reflect on what your daily duties are and configure which assessments can be handed over to other colleagues. If the tasks are out of your peer's bandwidth or their workload is high for them, consider outsourcing some of your projects. If there is still enough in the budget, outsourcing assignments can be a great way to limit your workload and stress.
This is the fatal blow that many business owners overlook. It may feel as though asking for help is a sign of vulnerability, that you were unable to manage on your own and need someone else to step in. But this could not be furthest from the truth. Current successful business owners did not get to where they are today by doing it all on their own. They had support lines to reach out to, whether it be current or past colleagues, friends, or even family. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and you don’t have to walk out of that tunnel alone.