By Elena Stewart
One of the hardest things about the COVID-19 pandemic is that small businesses don’t have the same resources that major corporations have to fall back on. This is a challenge we’re all facing right now, but there is some good news. While we may not have the same resources, we have one thing big businesses can’t compete with: the ability to adapt and innovate quickly. This doesn’t mean that changing up how you do business is a piece of cake, which is why we’ve gathered some of the best resources out there to help you overcome the obstacles.
Overcoming Your Biggest Obstacles
The first thing many businesses should do is explore financing options to alleviate the strain of lost income. Then you can focus on the nitty gritty, like getting your team on board with remote work, providing a solution to meet customers’ needs, and reaching customers in a way they’ll really connect with.
This crisis will end, but when it does, things will not go back to business as usual. That’s why the smartest solutions are ones that meet current needs, but with the future in mind. Major corporations are too large to adapt as quickly as small business owners can. Use that to your advantage to make sure your business comes out of this crisis stronger than ever!
Photo credit: Pixabay
Elena is a certified life coach who offers one-on-one coaching to women and men to help them reach their full potential in their careers, in switching jobs or industries, becoming an entrepreneur, applying for a promotion, achieving work-life balance, and more. Visit her online at elenastewart.com.
In the summer of 2017, I had the great pleasure of spending two months in beautiful Arroyo Hondo just north of Taos. Living in Central Texas, I dread the summers where 100+ temperatures are the norm more than the exception. So I was super grateful to get this opportunity to spend the summer where I could look out every morning at the majestic Taos Mountains and enjoy the cool and dry temperatures of this wonderful location. Being only minutes from the cultural attractions available in Taos didn’t hurt either.
Northern New Mexico is a great place to take hikes in beautiful natural settings, a place to gain new inspiration and to make new friends. That summer was also something of a working vacation as I spent a portion of my time designing a new website for a client in the area. This turned out to be a unique opportunity to work with someone whom I would eventually realize I needed for my team.
Not only did I enjoy my work, but I enjoyed forming new friendships with some very interesting characters. One 87 year old artist comes immediately to mind. His breadth of experience and his gift as a master storyteller were truly inspiring. In addition to meeting the fabulous owners of the rental we stayed in, I also met several new local artists, an artisan soap maker, a Reiki practitioner, and two retired
environmentalists and hiking enthusiasts who also shared the gift of storytelling.
This part of New Mexico certainly attracts people with fascinating backgrounds and a desire to deepen their spiritual understanding. The mountains seem to wrap you in their welcoming arms and inspire you to be more of who you already are. I left there knowing I had gained more clarity as to how I could continue to support small business in today's economy.
I've known the struggles and challenges many entrepreneurs face when it comes to marketing. Marketing is often the function of a small business that gets the least amount of attention —especially in the early start up stages. I was lucky enough to have a huge interest in marketing when I started my first business so I was more than willing to invest heavily in my own training. Other entrepreneurs might invest in other areas of their business more heavily depending on their own strengths and interests. Often marketing suffers because of it.
My new approach to marketing and website design has had a two year gestation period where ideas were percolating steadily. In 2019, I will resume VIP operations and have it serve as a marketing resource center for emerging entrepreneurs and a gateway to VIP Biz Online and BizTempo Design.
And I owe it all to that marvelous place in the mountains outside of Taos for serving as the incubator for this new phase of VIP's development. Inspiration leads to motivation and on to continued innovation. Interestingly enough, the beautiful house that I stayed in during my extended stay that summer was named CASA de Cuentos by the owners. It translates to House of Stories and now in 2019, story has become the focal point of VIP's new services.
Stress affects millions of Americans every day, leaving us feeling out of control when it comes to our personal and professional lives. It can be difficult to get through those emotions and to the other side, where we can focus on setting and fulfilling goals. And when you’re an entrepreneur, that can have life-altering consequences. It’s important to think of the best ways to get feelings of stress and anxiety under control and to reduce activities that bring them on as much as possible. Staying organized will certainly help, especially if you work from home. It’s not always easy to separate business from personal matters when your office is located inside your house, but doing so is crucial for keeping stress at bay.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make things a bit easier for yourself. Maximizing your productivity is essential, both so you can fit as much into a day as you can and so you’re not completely exhausted by the end of it. Having some downtime is crucial when you lead a busy life, so keep this in mind where your schedule is concerned.
Keep reading for a few tips on how to combat stress and anxiety when you’re a busy self-starter.
Design Your Home Office for Maximum Productivity
The space you work in should be clearly separated from your living area so there aren’t any distractions. Having the television on may seem like background noise that won’t keep you from working, but it can actually be a huge distraction that draws your attention away from your job. In addition, natural lighting can be a wonderful addition to any workspace, as it helps keep your circadian rhythm on track so you can get better sleep at night.
Treat Your Body Right
It’s all too easy to neglect your body and mind when you’re busy with work, but it’s essential to make sure you take care of yourself no matter what’s going on in your professional life. Getting daily exercise — even if it’s only 30 minutes of activity — and eating right are great starts that can help you stay on track in every way, so look for ways you can get active even when you’re busy. Keep a yoga mat in your car so you can practice some poses on your lunch hour, or go for a brisk walk with the dog after dinner. Cook up a few healthy meals for the week and freeze them so you can eat well even when you’re pressed for time.
Create a Routine
Creating a routine can help you stay focused and energized no matter how busy the day-to-day grind gets, even if it’s only a morning schedule that allows you to get everyone ready and out the door smoothly. You might focus on things like responding to emails at the beginning of the day, then take care of purchase orders and invoices before lunch. The more you can introduce order into your day, the easier it will be for you to get things done stress-free.
Recognize When You Need a Break
We’ve all had moments when work is piling up and it seems impossible to take time off, but it’s crucial to make sure you take breaks when you start to feel overwhelmed. In fact, taking a timeout well before that point is encouraged, even if you have to schedule it. Keep in mind that you don’t have to go on vacation; simply walking away from the computer for 10 minutes to clear your head will suffice when things are super stressful.
Staying busy as an entrepreneur is something that simply comes with the territory, but it doesn’t have to go hand-in-hand with a decline in your mental health. Look for ways you can feel better each day, including changing your surroundings if necessary. Doing so can help you focus on the most important things at the right moments.
Jennifer McGregor is a premed student, is passionate about health and wellness topics and would like her writing to help make the world a better, healthier place. She co-created a Public Health Library to write about health and wellness topics and to create a forum for sharing reputable health and medical information.
By guest blogger Lucy Reed
Original Post - 11/8/2016
According to Maslow's original Hierarchy of Needs theory of motivation there are 5 stages in our personal development that motivate us as demonstrated in his classic pyramid.
I started thinking that you can look at Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (HON) and relate it to the motivational stages that a small business owner goes through as well. So let's have a little fun as I take you through my interpretation of Maslow's HON for small business owners.
Physiological - The primary motivation is to meet your own and often your family's basic physiological need to have food on the table and have a roof over your head while you chase this wild wonderful dream of business ownership. This may go on for years while you feverishly dream of creating the latest must have service or product.
Safety - You've got this great business idea, service or product nailed down and now you're putting loads of energy/and "some" money into developing it within certain "safety" parameters. Maybe you're still on someone's payroll doing something you hate until you can get your small business off the ground. Many of us get stuck here forever but understand that it is a choice. Fear and the need for safety are great motivators and can seriously keep you locked in to your comfort/safety zone. However, it does seriously impede personal growth.
Love/belonging - Here's where you've made it to the part where you've finally manifested some type of business and your passion has sparked a new source and level of recognition/acceptance from your tribe - your new customers, family, and friends. Think Facebook! As a first step in "getting the love", you've created your Facebook business page and you're off and running. That's a wonderful feeling but you may still be hampered by a lack of confidence when it comes to perceiving the real value of your business and getting your unique selling proposition to come across in your marketing efforts.
Esteem - At this stage, you've had a few successes in delivering your product or service and have started to get some positive feedback and nice accolades from your customers. Sure it's a great feeling at first to get this new found respect from others but if the need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention are all you want then your business and possibly your important relationships may suffer along the way. For those willing to go further still, there is a higher level of need that results in the kind of self-respect that comes only when your sense of inner competence and self-esteem is based on your own experience. That comes from knowing you're doing the very best you can for all the right reasons.
Self-Actualization - Basically this means that you've arrived at the full realization of your true business potential. You've tweaked, improved and revamped your business when needed to get to a level that fully utilizes all your skills and reflects your best quality of service.
But wait there's more! Much later in life Maslow added another stage to his motivational model of psychology and that was self-transcendence. By then he had come to understand that the self only becomes truly actualized when it achieves a level of self-transcendence - in giving itself to some higher goal outside oneself, in altruism and spirituality.
All of this was my way of entertaining myself with an idea this morning and if I have somehow tapped into something that sounds familiar to you and that you can relate to that's great.
This rather lengthy blog article was my way of saying that if you've visited my website lately, you may have noticed that it is in a state of flux. There's a good reason for that. It is in A State Of Flux!
But for me that's a good thing. My state of flux indicates I'm busily revamping my business to be more in line with my highest interests and where I perceive I can offer the best service to my clients.
Many small business owners have a wonderful product or service which is the mainstay of their business but may lack the supportive systems in place to keep growing their business. This is a state I can relate to as a small business owner and is the reason I'm intrigued by the process of developing systems and offerings to my customers that are effective and relatively easy to implement.
Why does it have to be easy? Because if it's not easy and proven to be effective it won't get used.
So stick with me as I redesign my website to more accurately reflect what my service is all about including some brand new free pdfs that you'll be able to download to help you in your business.
So keep a look out for this sign that we're back and ready to assist you in your small business.