The economy consistently changes. Sure, the current pandemic has created unprecedented challenges and an economic downturn for many businesses. At the same time, the current situation has created opportunities for other businesses. Whether we’re experiencing a boom, a recession, or even a depression, business owners need to find ways to handle whatever situations they face.
Small businesses owners can’t handle everything alone. There aren’t large departments charged with making decisions about HR, accounting, marketing, and legal matters. Small business owners need to rely on professional assistance from outside sources. During this pandemic, there are accounting questions about whether you qualify for loan programs and serious paperwork for loan forgiveness where applicable…questions about liability if you open your business and employees or customers contract the virus (and blame it on you)…issues about providing required benefits and protections for employees…and much more. To get the answers you need, turn to your team of experts.
You may be able to find answers to some questions on your own, but determine whether the time it takes you to do this is worth it. It usually is more advisable to pay professional fees and be sure you’re getting the right answers, while spending your time running your business.
The challenges to running your business during difficult economic times can feel overwhelming. Getting answers to specific questions may not be enough. You may need more “big picture” assistance. Consider:
- Business coaches. These are professionals who help you clarify your goals and keep you on task to achieve them. Entrepreneur ran an article a number of years ago on reasons to seek out a business coach.
- Mentors. These are people with entrepreneurial experience who act as gurus, sounding boards, and cheerleaders. In a nutshell, they (hopefully) provide savvy business advice. Find free mentoring through SCORE, WBDC, and MicroMentor.
- Business groups. These are chambers of commerce, trade associations, and other groups designed to allow business owners to meet and interact with other owners. For example, BNI is a networking group in which members can discuss business issues and get feedback (there are more than 7,500 chapters nationwide).
The statements of others may serve as inspiration to you during difficult times. Here are a dozen quotes I like to keep in mind during challenging times:
- “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”—Franklin D. Roosevelt
- “We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us.”—William J. Brennan, Jr., Former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
- “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”—H. G. Wells
- “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
- “Everyone now understands how critical it is to help small businesses get out of this recession and into recovery.”—Karen Mills, former SBA Administrator
- “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.”—Satchel Paige
- “Prosperity is not without many fears and disasters; and adversity is not without comforts and hopes.”—Seneca
- “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” — Maya Angelou
- “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong… I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” — Audrey Hepburn
- “Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” — Coco Chanel
- “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”–Robert Frost
- “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”—Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne
Whatever the economic conditions you experience, recognize that they never last. Good times turn bad, and bad times turn good. Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to provide a timeframe for change. But having the right help and inspiration can see you through.
Let’s close with one more quote from John F. Kennedy:
“When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters—one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” -- John F. Kennedy