Where is your head right now?

Most of us have been on an emotional roller-coaster over the last year.

Where is your head right now?

Where is your head right now?

Most of us have been on an emotional roller-coaster over the last year.

The recent announcement of a roadmap towards the easing of lockdown is encouraging, but for many small businesses there is still a long way to go on this tumultuous journey. 

Having greater visibility on what the road ahead looks like will certainly help firms to focus and plan. The reopening of schools is of course also good news, not just for children, but for working parents, particularly those juggling their own businesses and home-schooling. 

However, with a lot of sectors continuing to face tough restrictions for a much longer period than ever anticipated, small businesses need ongoing support.

This isn’t just about financial support. While the extended lockdown brings huge financial pressures for many entrepreneurs, the mental toll is also significant. Having the right mindset is a key determining factor for small businesses to stay in the race.

A mental marathon

The ‘sprint’ to adapt at the start of the pandemic, fast turned into a marathon. This was on top of the fact that small businesses on the whole did not go into the pandemic at a high point. There had previously been a long period of depressed small business confidence, driven by a number of factors, including Brexit. 

Given the dire situation faced over the last year, the response from small businesses has been nothing short of amazing. So many kept positive through a driven and can-do mindset. So many pivoted, adapted and managed to survive, even thrive.

It was no small feat to respond to this with fast and flexible action. But those that did reaped the rewards. Those that shifted to this mindset even a bit later, are also finding the continued restrictions UK- wide easier to handle. 

Mindset Mission

So, how can you get into the right mindset, so you are well positioned to respond to the ongoing challenges of lockdown? And if it doesn’t come easily, is this something you can learn? 

In our ‘How to be Resilient’ report, which we launched recently with TSB, we identified five great tips that can help to build a strong survival mindset. These are based on the characteristics demonstrated by entrepreneurs across the UK that showed impressive resilience in facing the crisis with great strength, dynamism and flexibility.

  1. Respond to new challenges fast – focus on solving problems immediately, rather than waiting for a solution to present itself.
  2. Do something positive – create something, encourage someone, add in something new. Positive action gives us forward momentum.
  3. Keep an open mind – things will continue to change so be open to that and prepared to carry on changing with it.
  4. Speak to a mentor – find a business mentor who can help you get into a more positive and constructive mindset about your business.
  5. Get support with your mental health – embrace that this is a very difficult time and many of us need help. Be it speaking to a friend or accessing mental health support services, do what works for you to get a helping hand.

How to change

Even if changing mindset feels difficult, small businesses show evidence that they can indeed learn this behaviour, and the best method is through the example of peers. Seeing other businesses like me responding and seeing the impact it has is a great way of influencing businesses to act differently. 

Having a positive example is also much more inspiring than a negative one. Taking action requires energy, and that energy comes from inspiration. 

Some businesses are doing this naturally, but many are not. It may not feel natural to you if your tendency is towards caution, conservative decision making and thoughtful reflection. These can all be good things, of course, but may be holding you back from responding to the crisis.

If a business is not naturally inclined this way, perhaps speaking to a mentor in business, a friend, or via a small business network such
as Small Business Britain, businesses can find inspiration and the drive to change their mindset. 

It undoubtedly remains a challenging time for business owners now, but the right mindset can help you to face the future positively.

Michelle Ovens
Michelle Ovens

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