Beyond lockdowns -- how are you coping with what comes next?


If you’re feeling overwhelmed about what you have to do to move forward, you’re not alone. Be sure to get the help you need.   

By Michael Mekhitarian 

 

Look after your mental health


In Greater Sydney, vaccinations have almost reached the point where the NSW Government has determined that we can open up again, and while the pathway remains uncertain, from what I can determine from my regular discussions with clients, some are champing at the bit to get going, others want to hide under the doona. 

If you’re swaying between relief and trepidation then that’s ok. Moving forward, there’s a helluva lot to consider, and for some, it’s pretty overwhelming, which is also completely understandable. 

In June this year MYOB released the findings of its Business Monitor survey on mental health which showed that almost half of small business owners surveyed — 46 percent —  felt anxiety and depression as a result of running their own business. More than a quarter, 26 percent, ranked mental health as an “immediate” concern. 

There is absolutely no doubt that the pandemic has taken a toll on small business leaders, well beyond the economic impact imposed by lockdowns. In addition, the small business sector will be largely responsible for leading Australia out of the post-pandemic recession, so there’s considerable pressure on everyone.  

Redefine success


And, there’s potentially more stress coming. Small business owners will have a lot to deal with over the coming months, in addition to keeping themselves afloat — health and safety issues, vaccination issues, masks, etc. There’s detailed accounting for financial assistance, rental relief and loan holidays etc …which is going to need impeccable record keeping for audit purposes, the wellbeing of staff, and the list goes on. 

I’m not a mental health expert, so this is not an article about what you should do if you’re not coping. But if you are struggling, please seek help. 

And remember that you’re not alone …  Very very many small business owners are feeling exhausted and close to burnout.

One of the things I’d like to suggest, is that you start to measure your success differently.

We’ve all traditionally thought that loyal customers, happy staff and a positive profit margin are the “be all and end all” markers of business success. 

But right now, I think we need a new paradigm. 

The past 18 months have been beyond tough, and if you’re a small business owner still heading up a financially viable operation, then that should be a very significant measure of your success. A lot of businesses have not made it this far. 

So, take a moment to reflect on all the things you have achieved in navigating what has been the most disruptive and tumultuous period many of us have ever had to endure. And it’s not yet over, although we are making headway in managing the pandemic. 

Going forward, try not to get over burdened by your “to do list.”  Yes, there is a lot to do, but it can all be dealt with, step by step. 

In many ways, we are rebuilding Rome and it’s important to remember that it wasn’t done in a day. 

Delegation is not a dirty word


It’s also important to remember that delegation is not a dirty word. 

Access the talents of your own people, and those within your professional networks.

Get the help you need to re-draft procedures and policies and re-think your business structure … to work through finances and staffing and whatever else is troubling you. 

This is not always easy for entrepreneurs and small business owners — most have a crystal clear vision and the drive to see it through, typically on their own — but right now, the environment is ripe for collaboration and cooperation, and both will ease the pressure. 

There is a strong spirit of “we’re all in this together” within the small business community. I know that sounds trite, but we’re all facing similar issues, and there is a very strong collective desire to help each other figure out the next steps and how we all move forward. 

You could also consider getting help from a business coach or business mentor over the coming months too, until your business finds a secure footing once again. 

Above all, remember that you don’t need to focus on business growth right now, you just need to focus on stability. Growth will come in due course. 

And if we can help, we’re only a phone call away

 

 

If you or anyone you know needs help, contact Beyond Blue.
It has a  coronavirus mental wellbeing support service.
Tel: 1800 512 348.