Small businesses are a cornerstone of the American economy, contributing $6 trillion in economic output and employing 85 million Americans. Unfortunately, small businesses are also heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with one in five closed either temporarily or permanently. With social distancing restrictions in place, small-business owners more than ever count on technology to reach consumers, market their products, and grow their business. Tech has been a critical lifeline for small businesses and consumers alike during the COVID-19 crisis.
Examining the use of digital platforms as a whole in the United States before the pandemic, the national small business survey finds that the use of digital platforms by small enterprises is ubiquitous:
When you feel your best physically, you’re more energetic and productive. Exercise, for example, makes people more alert and attentive, enabling better focus on your business. Even a little goes a long way! You may not have access to your usual gym, local rec center, or community pool, but you can still stay active by taking walks outside – or by following along with online exercise videos on hotter days.
It’s more important than ever for small business owners to have a support system outside of work. Maintaining personal and professional connections may be more difficult than before the pandemic; However, there are still plenty of options for keeping in touch – including scheduling video calls with friends and loved ones throughout the week to blow off steam. Also, make a point of cultivating a network of business mentors and peers who can serve as a sounding board as you navigate your business’s new normal. Connect with fellow small business owners via LinkedIn or Facebook groups – and if you’re in need of experienced business advice, set up a video chat or phone appointment with a local SBA resource partner.
Intentionally carve out time for yourself each week. This “me” time is different for everyone but should include relaxing or entertaining activities that help you recharge. Ideas include reading, watching a movie, cooking, gardening, doing arts and crafts, or meditating. While relaxation time can often feel like a remote luxury for busy small business owners, it’s essential to preventing burnout, so hold yourself accountable and don’t skip out on this time.
With seemingly a million things to do to run a business, it can be hard to pinpoint where to start. The first step is to make a list of everything you need to get done. Then, prioritize your to-dos based on deadlines and other factors. Break down large, unwieldy projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Revisit your business plan to make sure that the areas you’re focusing on aligning with your overall business goals. If you’re still having trouble prioritizing, enlist the help of a business mentor. Find a business mentor near you with SBA’s local assistance tool. During these difficult times, small business owners remain resilient, always finding new and better ways to get things done. You tend carefully to your business, but don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Visit NIH’s website for more coping tips – and sba.gov/coronavirus for small business relief options.