How to be resilient, survive and thrive during COVID-19

Resilience is a word we’ve all heard more in the past eight weeks than we have in years. It’s thrown about like everyone knows what it actually means, but I think we can often miss the true meaning, to our own detriment.

So, what does resilience mean? Simply, it’s knowing how to cope in spite of setbacks, barriers, or limited resources. Resilience is also a measure of how much you want something and how much you are willing and able to overcome obstacles to get it. It has to do with your emotional strength and grit.

If you’re a small-business owner, you’ll be rushing to implement strategies to keep staff, customers and other stakeholders safe and informed as the reality of COVID-19 hits. The unimaginable is now here and we’ve all been caught totally unprepared. I will admit that my own business, PR consultancy LBPR, is going through a massive shift.

How do you apply resilient thinking to your business in times like these?

Imagine the worst-case scenario is the reality.

The picture shows me for the majority of my weekend two weeks ago. I stayed home in my PJs, drank coffee and tea (OK, and wine, and ate chocolate), and worked hard to scenario plan, create financial models and generally do all I could to ensure my award-winning PR consultancy can ride this almighty wave of cutbacks, uncertainty and panic. I forced myself to ask the hard questions. Where can I save costs? Where can I add value to current clients and ensure they continue loving us? Which businesses do I have some sort of connection with that could use some help? Where are the opportunities nobody else is considering?

That process made me feel so much better. An informed business owner is a calm one.

1. Execute like there’s no tomorrow

My team get that, as a small business, we actually all have the power to change our reality; we are not being dictated to by a massive global network. Of course, stuff has been postponed of course but that just means 2021 looks pretty good. We meet virtually every day and go through our priority tasks for that day. Our future planning is restricted to this week. As the business owner, i allow myself to consider this month. No further.

We’re also doing so much for our own brand, too, particularly on social media, that we were dithering with. I’m not suggesting you ditch strategic thinking – but I am saying that perhaps you can articulate it in a sentence rather than a 50-slide PowerPoint deck nobody wants to read anyway.

2. Remember we are all human

In the rush of day-to-day life, we can forget we are all just human beings. Like any business owner, its success relies on me being on-point (the financials show where I’ve been healthy and happy, and where I’ve allowed myself to wilt). I gave considered thought to how I can ensure I don’t fall down the exhaustion rabbit hole, one I’ve been down a few times. Clarity on this has meant my sanity has stayed (almost) in-tact and how I spend my time is ruthless. Today, I managed to “home school” my little boys while I managed a bunch of client projects with my team. Who knew I had THAT in me?

Sure, it’ll be a bumpy road for a while – but we will all get through it. I have a feeling this will actually be a time we all look back on with enormous gratitude. After all, you can cut all the flowers but you can’t keep the spring from coming.

Lisa Burling, Founder and MD, LBPR

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