We would be remiss if we just rolled into resolutions and 2021 and didn’t acknowledge what 2020 was for so many. Small businesses had to struggle and stretch and strain to make it to the end of this year. So many didn’t make it at all.

If you are staring at 2021 with anxiety, worry, and exhaustion, we get it. It is hard enough to be an entrepreneur, but fighting the uphill battles that this year has presented can be crushing for those who were just making it already.

With a new year comes the renewed expectation to plan and prep for business ahead. But if you’re feeling run down, that’s a lot to ask. Here are a few ways to recuperate and press forward despite the difficulties of the year.

 

Allow Yourself to Feel

 

Have you really given yourself a chance to experience the gravity of the year gone by? So many small biz owners dive head first into a problem and they don’t take a lot of time to experience the season they are in for all the problems that need solving.

Let yourself feel what this year was.  

Cry. Scream. Curse. Whatever it takes, but don’t go into next year trying to muscle through and pretend it wasn’t hard. Allow yourself to embrace all the good and the bad. Talk things out with your mentor or spouse. Write a review of the year. What were your hurdles? What were your accomplishments? What sucked?

If you store up the hardship, it will just follow you into the next year. Allow yourself to feel and give yourself permission to release.

 

Seek Help

 

Before you start trying to master all the ways the world has changed, remember that just as 2020 was unforeseeable, so many business endeavors are impossible to predict. So seek the help you need now. 

Whether that is childcare, financial support, team needs or education, start by filling in your voids. What and who can make you more agile. How can you build abundance where there was scarcity?

 

Start Something New

 

I think a lot of people had a “nothing new” rule for 2020. 

Don’t be overreactive to the changes.

Play it safe.

Buckle down.

Those things felt necessary in the midst of massive change, but it completely goes against the entrepreneur’s grain. Grant yourself permission to start anew.

Whether that is a new product, a new approach or a new business entirely, it’s okay to start something new. And it could even be essential. To reinvigorate your passion for pursuing your dreams, you may have to go back to the beginning. Get in touch with your roots and give yourself space in a realm that has been wholly untouched by 2020’s bad vibes.

Give Yourself Distance and Opportunity

 

To some extent, you just have to let it go. Let go of the shock. Let go of the “what ifs” and “how did this happens” and remember that adapt or die has always been the way of small business. This year has been an all-out assault on individual and small business operations. The world was turned utterly upside down. Some still managed to thrive though. Others even soared in the time of difficulty.

You don’t have to be a vulture, picking the bones of the year’s losses. But you can look at 2020 and see what opportunities might have formed. If you were doing in-person events, see what opportunities lie in virtual event planning. If you were focused on physical fitness training in a gym, start exploring online training options. You can still look at the world and discover what it needs without feeling like you’re taking advantage. 

Have empathy for the world that is hurting too and find ways that your business can resolve that pain. Acknowledge your own pain and ask how it can be resolved too.

If you aren’t ready for the new year right away, it’s okay to just allow some space and distance from the trauma of this year. It’s okay if there are some stretches of autopilot operations while you simply absorb and consider where to go next. 

 

Acknowledge the Strength in Small

 

While Walmart, Target, Amazon and the likes become more megalithic, it’s easy to feel daunted, but remember your strengths. The ability to connect personally, the opportunity to pivot, and the flexibility to scale up and down as needed are something the big stores don’t have. Do what you do best in this time of uncertainty until you feel settled enough to ascend again. There’s nothing wrong with scrappy. 

No one expects you to skip into 2021 after fighting for everything you have this year. It’s one thing to have a positive attitude, it’s another thing to plaster on a smile and pretend this year didn’t exist. So while we like practical tips for picking yourself up by the bootstraps, it’s equally important to tend to the very real person keeping everything afloat. 

Spend some time focusing on the mental work of acknowledging the chaos before you try to plan around it. 

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