The past few months have been incredibly demanding for small business owners, both personally and professionally. From juggling the demands of home-schooling to shifting operations online and trying to embrace remote working, 2020 has been a year like none of us could have expected. For many small businesses, these challenging conditions have forced us to consider the hard question:will my business survive COVID-19?
While we can’t control government restrictions or the changing nature of work, or even how much longer this pandemic lasts, we can control how we respond to the situation we now find ourselves in. Any crisis, including a pandemic, can open the door to new opportunities for growth both for you, your business and you in your business. The key to making the most of this opportunity is to foster the right mindset to help you navigate the ups and downs that lie ahead.
To help you on your way, here’s everything you need to know about cultivating a growth mindset and how it can help your business make it through these uncertain times.
What is a growth mindset?
As the name suggests, a growth mindset is when an individual believes their skills and talents are cultivated, developed, or ‘grown’ over time. It means understanding that progress requires hard work, smart strategies and openness to feedback from others along the way. By embracing opportunities to learn, those with a growth mindset tend to outperform individuals with a more ‘fixed mindset’ (or those who believe they are born with innate gifts and talents and can’t do much to change them).
Having a growth mindset comes back to the beliefs and stories we tell ourselves about our abilities, especially when challenges or roadblocks arise. In fact, recent research into neuroscience and brain plasticity indicates that we indeed have the ability to rewire our brains and develop new ways of approaching problems when we choose to embrace new things.
What about post-traumatic growth?
Traumatic events can represent a pivotal turning point that disrupts our underlying beliefs about ourselves and our talents. They can be extremely painful, exhausting, and confusing. But are traumatic events always all bad?
You’ve likely heard of ‘post-traumatic stress’, yet what about those times where a significant or traumatic event can be the ‘light-bulb’ moment that inspires personal growth? This process, referred to as ‘post-traumatic growth’ or PTG, describes the way someone’s mindset evolves as a result of a traumatic event. In fact, researchers have found that trauma is defined not necessarily by the event itself, but the individual’s experience of the event and the meaning they make of it.
This is not about finding a ‘silver lining’ or forcing yourself to be grateful for the difficult and painful things you go through. PTG is about using the challenges presented to you to look at the world a different way, or as a chance to take a new approach to how you live and work. In this way, crises can lead to a profound sense of personal growth, a new appreciation for life, new possibilities (in business and in life) and a deeper sense of your strength and resilience.
How a crisis can prompt opportunity
So, what does this all have to do with navigating the uncertainty of a global pandemic? Well, there would be few people who have not found the COVID pandemic traumatic in some way shape or form. In the past few months, small businesses have been forced to navigate the changes and challenges presented by COVID-19, from understanding what subsidies and financial support are available to carving out time for business continuity planning. For all of these reasons, being a business owner in 2020 has required more grit, resilience, and agility than ever before. It has even presented us with a unique opportunity for collective PTG.
That’s exactly where cultivating a growth mindset can come in handy. When we train ourselves to embrace change, become comfortable with uncertainty, and be prepared for transformation, we can lead our teams and businesses through the obstacles that will arise during a global pandemic. Rather than seeing problems as insurmountable challenges, a growth mindset enables us as small business owners to pour our attention and energy into learning new skills, reaching out for support, and mapping out a new plan to drive our business forward. This means fostering good mental health and taking care of ourselves so that we put ourselves in the best position to grow both during (and after) COVID-19.
Businesses who’ve successfully pivoted during the pandemic
If you’re needing a little inspiration, there are plenty of success stories from businesses both big and small who have managed to thrive in 2020. The common thread among these examples is a willingness to learn new things, adapt to the changing needs of their customers, and embrace new opportunities as they arise. In other words, they have lived and breathed a growth mindset.
- From in-person classes to virtual yoga sessions: For many of us, keeping our physical and mental health on track during the pandemic has been a top priority, which is why many yoga studios have shifted to offering live-streamed classes online. Having made a huge financial and emotional investment to design and build a beautiful new café and custom studio near Sydney’s fast-growing Eveleigh tech hub, Sydney’s Egg of the Universe could never have foreseen that a global pandemic would grind things to a halt. Moving their yoga classes online has been essential to keeping them afloat. As well as their online yoga classes they are also offering Live Streamed Detox Masterclasses and home delivery of orders from their amazing Wholefoods café. We are so proud of what clients like Egg of the Universe have achieved under such trying conditions.
- From distilling spirits to producing hand sanitiser: With a global pandemic sparking an increased demand for hand sanitiser, local distilleries across Australia rose to the challenge. From Archie Rose in Sydney’s inner city to the Cape Byron Distillery on the Northern Rivers of NSW, these small businesses pivoted their offering to deliver an essential product when customers needed it the most.
- From dining rooms to deli goods: As one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, the hospitality sector has also proved one of the most resilient. With dine-in service limited, many well-known restaurants have switched their offering to include gourmet groceries, pantry staples, and deli goods. Melbourne’s Smith & Deli has been curating take-home grocery boxes while Sydney’s Three Blue Ducks cafe has been selling everything from organic oils to curry sauces and take-home meal kits. Yum!
- From storefront and retail shows to online expansion:Not all heroes wear capes, but they do wear face masks. So, when things got tough and we all needed face masks to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the team atLogan’s Patchwork Fabrics swung into action. Before COVID (wow, remember that), they had a Sydney store that sold patchwork fabric and attended retail shows Australia wide backed up by their website. Masters of the pivot, Logan’s quickly shifted to selling DIY mask sets and patterns and using social media to reach their community. While their store has since re-opened, their speedy response to community needs and a solid investment in website and social media, this business not only expanded their products and reached a new customer base, but their online turnover surpassed their expectations.
- From set production to office furniture: When the pandemic hit, the entertainment industry was effectively shut down overnight. Stagekings , a successful set design and construction business renowned for their innovative and unique stage designs, were faced with letting their incredible team go and bringing the curtains down on their business earlier this year. However, instead of exiting stage left, their creative team got together and came up with the now iconic IsoKing office desk and product range. The success of the IsoKing range not only kept their business afloat and their staff employed, but also enabled them to donate $35,000 to Support Act; a mental health support group for musicians, crews and music workers. Bravo!
- From studio to street: Michael Martin of MM Photos is no stranger to reinventing himself. Having dreamt of, and created, a bespoke photographic studio, earlier this year he was faced with the reality of Sydney’s shutdown and what it meant for his livelihood. His clients, with their angelic newborns and active young families, could no longer come to his studio to experience the magic of his shoots. So, Michael decided to take it all on the road by creating a fabulous mobile studio! His camera now captures all the life, beauty, fun and perfection of his subjects, either in their own homes or in a safe, unique outdoor space. Now that’s something to smile about…
If you’re looking for ways to alleviate stress during these uncertain times, don’t go it alone. BASic Bookkeepers’ team of qualified bookkeepers and BAS agents is here to help. Get in touch with us today by giving us a call on 1300 852 575 or submit an online inquiry here .