Trying times like these can test your mettle: here’s some advice on how to come out on top.
Being a business owner often means you have clients, family and employees depending on you, and there will be times you’ll need to step up more than others - many business owners are finding that “this is the time.” Whether it’s a 3-year-old at your breakfast table or a long time painter who isn’t sure how he’ll put food on his own breakfast table, how you help others navigate this crisis can set the tone for a long time to come. It can be your undoing or can earn you undying loyalty.
In taking care of others, though, make sure to take care of yourself, because when this does come to an end, you want to be as strong as you can be, both financially and emotionally.
Breakthrough Academy, an organization devoted to helping build and grow trade businesses, shared its Coronavirus Leadership Playbook, which has advice on how get yourself up to snuff, and how it might take some extra diligence if your daily routine has been interrupted.
Eat. You are what you eat, so don’t eat junk. Prep is still important – in this case make meal prep with family part of your daily routine. Eat healthy, avoid sugar, don’t overdo the alcohol or caffeine. Have a banana instead of a bear claw. Stay hydrated, look into probiotics. Good nutrition gives you good vibes.
Sleep. Get some. With worries to keep you awake it’s more important than ever. Don’t look at bad news right before bedtime, don’t scroll through misery and despair on social media. Don’t push bedtime back each night until you’re going to bed when you usually get up. If you’re home, get outside during the day or at least open the window, then when it’s time to sleep, make your bedroom comfortable.
Exercise. Well, this is fun. Even if it’s not, you’ll feel better once you stop. You’ll reduce stress, keep yourself in shape, and keep depression at bay. Most likely the gym is closed, or you’re saying “what’s a gym?” Either way, look into workout apps or virtual classes if that will help. There are tons of YouTube videos for beginning and advanced exercise. If you haven’t done a pushup since 1995, start slow.
Mind. “It doesn’t matter if you’re running your business at the peak of a boom or in the depths of a recession, your beliefs about yourself, your business, your team and the economy all have a huge role to play in your success or failure,” say the folks at BTA. Take care of your mind like you take care of your body. Even if you think it’s silly, they say, visualize abundance. “Visualize all the positive outcomes that could happen, actually happening. Mentally paint the picture of your day going exactly how you want it to go. Then open your eyes and get to it.” Practice gratitude, meditate, and remember – you can get through this. If you have a BTA or other business coach, this might be a great time to give them a call.
If you’re in a good space mentally, you’ll be better able to coach your team through this as well. Talk to your team and be honest and sincere. If you have to lay someone off, let them know if you plan to hire them back right way. Let them know if you don’t. Help them with resources. If you say “we treat our team like family” then do it; do something like get them dinner through UberEats every week. “Be aware of the impact you have as a leader,” says the BTA staff. “Your people need to know you will come out the other side of this and it is important to share a message of hope and direction.”
If you haven’t used technology, this is a good time to start. Use programs that let them see your face. It’s OK for the team to see you as vulnerable, as real, as transparent. Talk to your staff, and if you have a lot of staff, have a crew chief check in on the team one on one.
It’s also a time to seriously look at your business and see what you can fix or improve. If things are slowing down, or you have staff that can’t get out to work, it’s a great time to come up with a marketing plan or improve your processes. When you come back into the marketplace, you want to be in full force. If “that other company that always gets the jobs you want” is working its tail off while you’re wringing your hands, they’ll be wringing a lot of money out of your pocket when it’s time to get back to work.