It’s no secret that Covid has affected the economy around the world. However, small businesses and their owners have taken the hardest of hits. As a small business owner, it takes drive, resolve, and industry savvy to maintain your business in the first place - add a global pandemic, and things become even more complex. As a business coach, I’ve seen firsthand just how tough it is out there - but I’ve also helped small businesses like yours thrive despite it all. Let’s take a look at how Covid has impacted the small business space and what you can do about it.
Impacts of Covid on Small Business Owners
We can’t discuss the impacts of Covid on businesses without first acknowledging how it’s affecting the heart of those businesses - the owners. As you’ve likely experienced to some degree yourself, recent surveys show that small business owners everywhere are feeling the impacts of Covid on their mental health.
Over two years of ever-changing mandates and Covid-related disruptions have made it impossible to maintain a work-life balance. Taking care of your own well-being often ends up on the back burner thanks to the global chaos we all live in. However, you have an added, unwanted responsibility of managing new regulations and public opinion.
All of that is to say that small business owners are worn down and exhausted. This generally happens when a person is overworked and managing unreasonable deadlines. While you may have hired help in the past, you’re likely experiencing the employment shortage, as well. It’s estimated that one in five small businesses in Australia has insufficient staff. If you’re feeling the fatigue, you’re not alone - a recent survey found that 42% are feeling burnt out.
It’s worth noting that Covid isn’t the only thing you’re dealing with. Covid has a domino effect, and now you’re also facing rising inflation, which impacts your bottom line. With that in mind, you might be part of the 52% of business owners surveyed who neglected to take a vacation in the last year - or the 62% who report feeling mentally exhausted but working longer hours than ever before. If this is you, keep reading - there are ways to enjoy a thriving business without fatiguing yourself in this way.
The Effects of Covid on Small Business
Only 35% of small businesses are reporting that sales are back to or exceeding pre-pandemic levels. While that percentage is increasing, it’s fair to say that the other 65% of businesses are struggling to get back to normal, even as the vaccine spreads and mandates ease.
Supply Chain Struggles
Part of the issue we’re facing is due to the supply chain. Per the same survey, 51% of small business owners are experiencing major disruptions to their business due to supply chain issues, with another 44% reporting mild to moderate impact.
It’s also impossible to meet your potential without some extra hands. Like the rest of the world, small businesses are also suffering from a staffing shortage. 42% of business owners are experiencing moderate to significant staffing issues. Thanks to the shortage, 23% of small businesses are missing a significant amount of potential sales. You’re likely also offering increased wages, more time off, and better bonuses to attract employees - all of which can be extremely taxing on your small business.
How Can Business Owners Succeed in This Climate?
If the above symptoms of the pandemic sound familiar, you’re in good company. We’re now two years out from the start of it all, and there’s plenty we can learn and change in order to thrive. Here’s what the most successful small businesses did to not just survive, but flourish - and how you can use them in your own biz.
1. Be Flexible
If we learned anything through the pandemic, it’s that the businesses that found a way to flex did the best. For example, restaurants that made the switch to contactless delivery were in high demand. By being able to remain flexible with staffing, hours, and offerings, you remain nimble to adjust with the times. Take a look at your business to see where your inflexibility is perhaps causing you undue stress or holding back your sales - what can you adjust?
2. Get Resourceful
Along the same lines, it’s also important to be resourceful. Look for ways to make short-term choices that keep you agile. It’s easy to get hung up on the details, especially when it comes to your unique product, but doing so can put you behind the competition. Rather than waiting for the one item you need to come back in stock (because who knows when that will be), you must find another resource so you can maintain business as usual. Get creative, look for new solutions, and talk with other small businesses to share ideas and wins.
Customers appreciate transparency - especially during the pandemic. Let them know what changes you’ve made because of the pandemic, whether that’s improved safety protocols or updates to your offering due to the supply chain shortage. They come to your business because they want that human touch, so don’t be afraid to be authentic.
You can also ask them what they’d like to see, which can provide ideas for where you can get more flexible or resourceful. If you need to close up shop so you can take some well-deserved time off, just communicate it! You might even drive more demand thanks to scarcity.
4. Practice Empathy
We’re facing unprecedented times. That means your employees, customers, and suppliers are also facing new stress and concerns. Try to be understanding and empathetic - and extend the same to yourself. By acting with compassion you encourage it within others, and that translates to happier employees and customers, as well as a more sustainable business.
5. Get a Coach
Running a business can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s also challenging, confusing, and lonely. During normal times it can be difficult to know what the right next step is - during the pandemic, it can be downright scary. Don’t be afraid to ask - get a business coach with the knowledge and skills to help you when you need it most.
As a business coach, I have extensive experience helping business owners just like you set goals and surpass them to create a structured, profitable, manageable business - even during a pandemic. Having a coach at your disposal can help you make sure each decision and step you take leads you toward success. No more second-guessing or running yourself ragged.
Ready to get started? Check out my coaching services here or feel free to reach out here.