Small business owners have been especially hard hit

By Rich Lindblom, YSN

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines “burnout” as “chronic stress that is not successfully managed.”

Does that sound vaguely familiar to any of you?  Sadly, the COVID pandemic hasn’t just affected small businesses; it has affected small business owners as well.  In fact, I would argue it has affected you disproportionally.

Let’s get real for a moment: With the stock market’s record highs, I’ll bet many Fortune 500 CEOs aren’t losing much sleep over the now nearly two-year-old pandemic. 

Can the same be said for you?  With the constant struggle to stay ahead of the inventory curve and now staffing issues heaped on your already full plate, it would be a small miracle if you weren’t feeling at least a bit frazzled. 

I read some staggering statistics in a recent Capital One Business survey:

  • 60 percent of small business owners have not taken a week or more off work since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
  • 42 percent of small business owners say that they have experienced the effects of burnout within the past 30 days.
  • 35 percent of small business owners say that they could use some type of external support and/or resources to help them combat burnout.

But wait — it’s not all doom and gloom! There’s some good news to share from that survey as well:

  • 63 percent of small business owners expect their business to improve in 2022.
  • 59 percent of small business owners say that they are just as, if not more motivated to grow their business today than they were pre-pandemic.
  • 52 percent of small business owners expect their work-life balance to improve in the next six months.

Personally, I’d like to think that we can all see the light at the end of the tunnel. It might be a little further out in the distance than we would like, but it’s there, trust me. 

A year ago I wrote a column for YSN about “trickle-down positivity,” and I think it’s probably even more important and more relevant today, largely because the pandemic has lasted much longer than any of us could have imagined.  The underlying message was that no matter what sucker punches life throws at you, you must stay positive.  Not just for your sake, but for the sake of your family and your employees. 

With all this in mind, I’d like to offer a few of suggestions to help you combat some of the stress cited by the survey and either avoid or recover from burnout.

In that poll, 35 percent of small business owners said they wished they had resources available to them.  The good news is that there are resources available to every single one of you reading this today — people you can turn to for advice, compassion and understanding.

  • A great place to start is your church.  Being well grounded in your faith can do wonders for your state of mind.  Inner peace leads to outer peace, not the other way around.
  • Be open and honest with your family, don’t hold things in.  They are the most important thing in your life, so please don’t shut them out, ever.  They care about you as much as you care about them.
  • Whether you realize it or not, you have more than 5,000 friends out there going through many of the same trials and tribulations you are.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to members of your extended BrandSource family.  They truly are a family, always willing to help a fellow member in his or her time of need. 
  • And don’t forget the hundreds of knowledgeable and caring people at AVB/BrandSource, from your Regional representative to the Member Relations crew and all the way up to the Senior Leadership Team. They are all here for you. (And, just for the record, so am I. My phone is always on, and I answer every email.)

As for the 60 percent of you who haven’t taken time off since the start of the pandemic, I personally think that Summit 22 in Las Vegas would be an excellent opportunity to spend a few days or maybe even a week away from your business to recharge your batteries and learn a thing or two. And there is no better place to connect with your BrandSource family than at an AVB show.

The bottom line is that yes, the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and if you stay positive and ask for help if you need it, you will not only get through this, but you will be stronger for it.

I have three goals in mind with my columns: To motivate, educate and entertain.  If I have achieved at least one of those, then I have done my job. Don’t be shy about letting me know if you agree or disagree for that matter. You can always reach me at egvrich@gmail.com or (847) 751-0015.