There’s no doubt that practically everyone across all four corners of the globe has been impacted by the pandemic in some way. From businesses, individuals and families to carers, health givers and sports people, this has been one of the most challenging and damaging years in living memory. Yet, we must stay hopeful.
Staying hopeful while the world seems to have come to a complete halt is not easy. While we have light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a vaccine, that doesn’t mean we face less hardship over the next few months. If you run a business, you have probably spent much of the last year worrying you won’t be able to survive. Here we look at some different ways to remain positive during the pandemic and how taking a proactive approach is not only good for your business but your mental health too.
Take Advantage of Government Support
Whether you are an employer or a self-employed sole trader, there is an unprecedented level of financial support out there at the moment. These include grants for businesses that have been forced to close, the furlough scheme which has been extended to April and the self-employed grant. Luckily, even if you don’t qualify for these, there are various non-governmental support schemes through public bodies, charities and local organisations giving some hope.
Care for Your Staff, Care for Yourself
Covid-19 is a major headache for business owners but employees too are facing huge challenges. As an employer, it’s important to prioritize their health and wellbeing, especially when things are this difficult.
That means reaching out to staff, engaging regularly and keeping them honestly informed about what is happening with your business. It also means being as flexible as possible when you are trying to accommodate staff with different needs.
In addition to all this, of course, you need to look after your health and make sure you continue to stay positive. Brainstorm Your Business. Many businesses will be faced with more ‘dead time’ than they are used to. That may be because customers are not buying,
your premises are shut or your suppliers are unable to deliver.
While it’s difficult, this is an excellent time to start reviewing your business model and how things are going to move forward in the future.
Covid-19 will not last forever and we will come out on the other side where things will start to get back to normal. You should look at how making changes to your business can help you not only survive Covid but emerge with a stronger and more resilient operation.
That for some businesses that might include adapting to becoming more delivery friendly, looking at ways to boost sales online, connecting with new suppliers, strengthening branding and planning for growth. It’s also a great way to get your staff involved and make them feel more positive about the future too.
Focus on Marketing
Particularly for smaller businesses, marketing can be a little adhoc even during normal times. It’s difficult to find the right approach and make the most of your budget and your resources. This is a great time to start reviewing your marketing, building assets such as your social media feeds and making yourself more visible online.
It’s critical to maintain communications with your customers and show that you are still there to provide a service. It’s also essential to reach out to new potential customers in any way that you can. At this difficult time, your approach shouldn’t just be about selling and pushing products but engaging with and supporting your customer base.
The good news is that options such as paid for advertising are a lot cheaper at the moment and can help get your products and services in front of the right customers.
Build Your Network
This is also an important time to start reaching out and building your network. That could mean contacting local business owners and talking through the challenges of lockdown. This stops you becoming isolated and feeling the whole world is against you. It’s also a great way to get advice, combine resources and share stories.
Moderate Your News and Social Media Intake
While we all want to stay informed, the truth is that the news is pretty much filled with doom and gloom at the moment. It’s easy to get into the habit of constantly watching the news and losing hope because things are moving so slowly.
Social media in particular often gives a skewed view of the world and reality and it’s far too easy to focus on the negative. If you are continuously checking Twitter and Facebook feeds and find that it is draining your enthusiasm, it may be the right time to put your smartphone down and do something different.
5 Tips for Staying Mentally Strong
Mental health is a big issue for many people during this difficult period. Staff are worried about their jobs, people with health
problems have found themselves isolated and business owners have been left feeling powerless as lockdown follows lockdown.
On a personal note, there are several things that you can do, and encourage your staff to do, to stay positive and mentally strong. Here are just 5 options:
1. Exercise: Including some exercise in your daily regime is important not only for physical health but mental health as well. That could involve a 20-minute aerobics routine or going for a relaxing walk and getting some fresh air.
2. Eat Healthily: A good diet is essential for mental health but it can be difficult during Covid. Avoid comfort eating and, of course, drinking too much. With many people struggling with their finances, putting healthy food on the table is a challenge. Planning meals and picking fresh produce rather than opting for processed foods can make a big difference
3. Reach Out: Don’t become isolated during Covid. There are plenty of ways to reach out and talk to friends and family members as well as co-workers. The old BT ad line of ‘It’s good to talk’ has never been so important.
4. Have a Routine: Whether you’re working from home or are sat twiddling your thumbs, it’s still important to have a routine. That means setting goals for the day, writing a to-do list, creating a set space to work in and generally keeping yourself busy. Achieving things makes you feel more positive and certainly helps maintain good mental health.
5. Do Something You Enjoy: It’s not all about work, of course. Lockdown is a brilliant time to indulge yourself. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, learn a language or become an expert in watercolours, there’s no better opportunity. Me-time is still vital and good for the soul.
These are just some of the things you can include in your daily routine to make lockdown more palatable. As we head into 2021, most are hoping that we can soon return to normal. In the meantime, staying positive and setting goals are important if we want to make the most of lockdown.