Small Business Recovery

Before COVID, the outlook for small business was high. However, the worldwide pandemic affected all sectors, and especially small business. Lack of customers, inability to meet face-to-face, a sudden decline in sales, health concerns, uncertainty, and many other reasons have created one of the most challenging times ever.

Business owners were left to fend for themselves while the economy dropped like a stone. Owners and staff struggled to stay afloat between virus surges, government regulations for masking and isolation, vaccination availability, and work from home rules.

Even though, Americans adjusted to the new normal while hand sanitizer and toilet paper sales flew through the roof. To stay afloat, business owners adapted and innovated. They embraced technology. Meetings were held via Zoom, GoToMeeting, and other web-based software. They invested in SaaS tools to keep going in the face of massive shutdowns. Employees worked from home, goods were bought and delivered via e-commerce, database management systems kept inventory management, communication, project management and collaboration humming along.

What we found remarkable was all this technology was provided without the price spikes we have seen recently in fuel prices and shortages of goods by disruptions to the supply chain.

Regardless, small business will claw itself toward recovery, because Americans always do. We did it after WWII and we’ll do this time. Recovery will take time, perhaps up to five years. Many may never reopen. Small businesses operate with slimmer margins than large corporations. We have less to invest in technology and less working capital. But the ingenuity we have to adapt is priceless.

Habits of Highly Successful Women

What success means to you is your decision, and yours alone. For most, it means achievement and success, personally and financially. For others, it’s doing something that makes you happy, or overcoming huge obstacles in your way. It may mean becoming smarter, calmer, and more spiritual, but it could also mean being more appreciated by your peers, friends or family. 

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” 
—Winston Churchill

How to become a successful woman is often a matter of confidence coupled with a mindset to set goals — then have the courage to meet them. Here are few mindful favorites.

Challenge yourself

Write down goals, accomplish them (yep, check ‘em off), then set them higher. 
Knowledge is power. Never stop reading and learning.
Push yourself in personal life and business. 

Stay healthy

Acknowledge that health is both mental and physical. 
Eat right, keep moving, get plenty of sleep, and avoid risky habits.
Reduce stress and learn to say “no”.

Practice gratitude

Note the small things. Make a daily list of 3 things that went right.
Write simple thank you notes to colleagues, customers and clients.
Be respectful of others, especially their time.

Make time for yourself

Minimize distractions and stay focused.
Appreciate your own value. Let go of perfection.
Schedule time to do what you love. Have fun along the way.

Constantly work on self improvement

Visualize success. Stay socially connected. 
Look and dress your best. Smile often. 
Practice random acts of kindness

Get and stay financially savvy

Know your finances and set financial goals. Use a budget. 
Pay off debt and avoid future debt. Don’t just save – invest. 
Prioritize your retirement – women live longer than men!

Dear Mr. Churchill offers another nugget of inspiration… “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” As for all the men out there, simply reread this blog and substitute “men” for “women.” It works.

Dare to Think

We’ve all heard the phrase: think big. Big goals are achieved far more often than small goals. Not because they are easier (they aren’t), but because they matter. In business, we set big goals to get things done.

Small goals are more attainable, comfortable, and achievable. Our ToDo list is created from small goals: return calls, clean out the inbox, write checks, meet with managers and teams. All safe, all attainable, and all within our comfort zone. 

When it comes to goal setting, big goals stretch us and push us past our comfort zone and enable us to do something that we may have thought impossible. 

Set a big goal and you are actually thinking “big commitment, big action.” If that big goal feels uncomfortable and scary, you’re likely to work harder to attain it. A Big Goal achieved makes us work harder, think smarter, and make things happen. 

The ’60s controversial psychologist Timothy Leary (or was it Socrates, 400 BC?) coined the phrase “question authority” as a reminder for us to develop a healthy skepticism of the status quo. In business, it’s a reminder to follow your own path — never blindly follow what someone else says, especially if it’s at odds with your own instincts. Just because someone says something is true doesn’t actually make it true. Learn to discern the difference.

Never make excuses. If everyone used their common sense to make everyday business decisions, the world might be better off. Instead, we often let our fear of failure get in the way. We make excuses why something can’t happen even before it’s had a chance to happen. 

Companies rarely fail for lack of talent or strategic vision. They fail for lack of execution. Instead of daring to think, we make excuses. Some may play the victim card. Others may rationalize why something won’t work and never even hear themselves making excuses. 

As small business owners, we have to decide: no excuses (because a good excuse is still just an excuse).

It takes courage to take responsibility for what happens, to own it, and stay in complete control of our choices. But success, prosperity, doing good for others…it’s all worth it.

There are no mistakes, only lessons. But we can talk more about that another day.