Alex Nieora on the difficulties facing entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Many entrepreneurs fear that their business will no longer be profitable in a few months. Most are struggling to calm their own anxieties along with those of their employees. Some even fear their business will fall apart, and they won’t be able to financially support themselves and loved ones.

Governments around the world are taking different action. In the UK, the government has announced measures to support Britain's five million self-employed workers who are unable to work due to the coronavirus lockdown. The grants will cover 80% of entrepreneurs’ average monthly profits from the past three months, up to a value of £2,500. However, it’s not until mid-June that the financial support kicks in.

Relying on government for life support is not what any entrepreneur wants to do. What can entrepreneurs do themselves to keep their businesses afloat? Alex Nieora, a previously London-based freelance writer and entrepreneur herself, shares the following three key strategies.

Take it day by day

COVID-19 has caused many people to start overthinking and become paralyzed with fear. This inhibits rational thought and creates negative thought cycles getting in the way of thinking about positive steps to move forward with. Avoid this “analysis paralysis” by developing a daily plan for your business:

1.            Break down what you need to do into smaller and actionable steps.

2.            Attend to the steps according to their level of urgency.

3.            Address your employees’ wellbeing.

4.            Address questions and concerns from partners and clients.

Once you stop overthinking and start taking action, you’ll be gain clearer perspective on your situation and be able to navigate further challenges with more confidence and ease.

Set aside time “you time”

Along with managing your anxiety about keeping your business afloat you may also be making difficult decisions about employee headcounts or you may be looking to reassure employees and their families that they are not about to be fired. But this constant onslaught of fears and anxieties can eventually lead to burnout. Which is why it’s so important to engage in a daily self-care ritual, says Alex Nieora. You should set aside time purely devoted to caring for your own mental wellbeing, putting your work anxieties on the backburner for the moment. Do something that fills you with a sense of calm or joy, whether it’s meditating or walking your dog or your favourite hobby.

Keep up with news (but not so much that it gets you down)

You should monitor the news on a daily basis to keep abreast of any new government assistance and closure and distancing rules that might affect you and your business, notes Alex Nieora. Along with following official news sources you can check government websites yourself directly. The UK government now has a webpage dedicated to information on COVID-19, with specific guidance and support for businesses and people who are self-employed. Along with financial support for entrepreneurs themselves, employers can apply for their staff to get up to 80% pay if they can’t work. Visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information.