Rebecca Newenham is the founder and director of award-winning virtual agency Get Ahead VA. Her team of over 40 virtual assistants and 7 franchisees all work flexibly and remotely to provide marketing and business support services to SMEs and entrepreneurs across the UK. Rebecca Newenham founded Get Ahead VA in 2010 after recognising a gap in the market for virtual assistance services that offered the flexibility, value and performance that small businesses and start-ups need in the 21st century, digital economy. The business has been recognised in awards including Flexible Business of the Year and Rebecca has recently been listed in the #ialso list of 100 inspiring female business leaders in the UK.
Entrepreneurs are often risk-takers. Not afraid to do things differently and take on a challenge. But the COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge far greater than most of us could ever have imagined. Businesses are having to completely rethink what they do and how they do it, in the face of a situation changing virtually minute by minute.
Some entrepreneurs may have seen their life’s work disappear in the space of days. Others may be thriving in a new environment where their products or services suddenly come to the fore. If you’re not one of those lucky ones, it can be hard to maintain a positive mindset in the face of such adversity. But having a can-do attitude is critical to successfully managing your business through the next few months.
Remember this time will pass
This is a temporary situation. We don’t know for how long, but we know this virus will abate at some point, restrictions will be lifted and we will find a way to return to ‘normal’. Be kind to yourself and understand that you will have off days during this pandemic and that is ok.
Regular breaks and exercise can help you maintain perspective. Even just a ten-minute walk with some fresh air and a few minutes away from the distractions of mobile phones and email delivers not only vital physical exercise, but it can make a real difference to your mental mindset too. Remaining calm and balanced in the face of crisis will help you remain productive and effective.
Set new goals
Goal setting helps keep you on track. It enables you to focus and get things done. The goals you had at the start of the year may well need to be totally rewritten in light of coronavirus. You may need to downgrade forecasts and change your plans. But there may be new opportunities too. Businesses are discovering new ways to work online like never before. Setting goals and writing task lists can help you remain positive. Business doesn’t have to stop because clients or orders have gone quiet. Quiet times can be a great opportunity to get round to writing blogs, reviewing your sales strategy or looking at how you can outsource business areas to save costs and increase flexibility. Write your new short and medium-term goals down and put them up on the wall so they are clearly visible and can hold you accountable.
Eat the frog!
Tackle the worst job first. Face issues head-on. If you have to make difficult decisions about your staff, your business or even yourself, don’t delay. Putting things off will only leave you more time to worry or become anxious. Taking action will help you to work through issues and be more positive.
If your concerns involve staff, take time to listen. Though they might not own the business, your team may still care deeply and want to help or have some great ideas. Collaboration, compassion and kindness can all come out of challenging situations and will help ensure you remain positive and your business stays on track. Maintain positive energy by rewarding yourself for tasks and achieved and targets met. Celebrating success is more important than ever.
Avoid isolation by using video calling and phones rather than email to stay connected and keep verbal/visual energy up. Positively embrace your new reality and you might just discover you are even braver and can achieve even more than you thought.
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