How do you plan in a pandemic?

We had a very different Christmas, and now we are having an exceptional New Year.

How do you plan in a pandemic?

We had a very different Christmas, and now we are having an exceptional New Year.

January is traditionally the time for a fresh start and exciting diary planning, booking holidays and kicking off resolutions to develop yourself and your business.  But this year inspiration can be hard to find.

There are, of course, still many things to feel positive about. A Brexit deal was negotiated, vaccines and treatments to bring this pandemic back under control are being rolled out, and this time next year we should be getting somewhat back to a version of normal and feel more on track,

But with the gruelling mental and business challenges of another lockdown, combined with the covid tragedy playing out on our TV screens, it can be hard to think positively in the eye of this storm.

Plans on hold

While I am ordinarily a big advocate of intentionally making life happen, I think it is ok this year to put the master plan on ice for a moment if you are struggling to see a long-term plan for your business.

The best thing for a lot of business owners right now is to take care of yourself and focus on what you need to do to get through this difficult time.

Start at home and prioritise the small things to keep your energy and your mood up – a run, a hot bath, a call with a close friend, whatever it is that makes you feel back in control and more upbeat. With home schooling, work stress and Zoom pressures, this might feel hard to fit in – but it is absolutely going to pay back dividends in time and energy.

Look after your mind

If you allow yourself and your mind to rest, often everything becomes clearer and easier. But I also think there is nothing like getting energy and ideas from other people, particularly a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.

So, my January inspiration tip would be to check out the stories of the 100 amazing power women that have been chosen to be part of this year’s f:Entrepreneur ‘#ialso100’ campaignthat we launched recently in partnership with Tide.

From gin-makers to sequin wall designers, tech entrepreneurs to mental health campaigners, this year’s campaign celebrates inspiring and resilient female entrepreneurs that have flourished despite Covid-19.

We started this campaign back in 2017 to highlight amazing female role models to help and inspire all small businesses, and it is particularly powerful and valuable right now.

Female entrepreneurs have arguably had more challenges than most in the last year, with lots of research showing that they tended to be disproportionately impacted by lockdown.

But I also feel that women are disproportionately better at reaching out and connecting and asking for help. And that is often the secret behind why so many are succeeding and growing businesses, even in these trying times.

People like Grace Farrimond, the founder of Young Blooms, who creates bespoke designs for the events industry. The business has recently diversified to also provides a postal flower service, creative workshops, one-to-one tuition and an online floristry school, which proved particularly popular on YouTube during the early months of lockdown.

And Mansata Kurang, whose idea to create a virtual reality experience for people with dementia has led to an award winning business ,VR Revival. Or Jo Porter, the woman behind Kitchen Dancing which offers fun, themed dance-fitness classes, workshops and events both in person and virtually. Up until April 2020, the business was very much localised to her hometown of Nottingham but now Jo is dancing virtually with people from all over the world.

So, take a moment to yourself and find some inspiration to keep you going in these stories. It will make you realise everyone is having to re-write their chapters at the moment, and perhaps give you some optimism for the next stage of your story.

Michelle Ovens
Michelle Ovens

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