COVID-19 has impacted both small businesses and large corporations throughout the course of 2020. For entrepreneurs and small business owners, the impact of the virus may have larger consequences. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t build your business and find success during this time.

When considering how to move forward with your business and stay productive, consider these seven tips:

1. Be easy on yourself, and know that it isn’t your fault.

When you’re an entrepreneur, it’s easy to let yourself take on every responsibility under the sun and carry the weight of the world. During this time, it’s extremely important for you to remind yourself regularly that these circumstances are out of your control. If you allow your mind to believe that the changes happening in your business are a result of your efforts or ability, you will inevitably blame yourself and invoke unfounded feelings of failure.

COVID-19 and its long-term effects on small businesses could not have been predicted by even the most studied and skilled economist or business leader. Be kind to yourself during this time and remember that your business was and can still be successful because of your hard work and innovation. 

2. Keep a routine.

When you’re your own boss – and especially when you can’t go into your office or regular workplace – there are some days where you roll out of bed and immediately jump online to answer emails and keep your business afloat. However, it’s important to keep a routine in place to help separate your work from your personal life. If the two begin to blend together, you may start to feel burnt out.

Make sure you set time to shower, get ready in the morning, prepare a healthy meal, exercise and take some time for yourself throughout the day. It may sound silly, but these simple activities can get lost when you’re forced to work from home during COVID-19.

3. Limit news intake.

Being informed is important, but make sure you’re not spending too much time watching or reading the news. During a pandemic, too much news can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, isolation and despair. This is especially dangerous if you’re an entrepreneur trying to get your product or service off the ground.

Starting your own business takes a tremendous amount of courage, hope and positive thinking. If you begin to view the world through the lens of COVID-19 or global pandemic, it can be extremely difficult to keep a positive attitude, which is absolutely necessary for business success. 

4. Take advantage of available tools and resources.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed or weighed down by the effects of COVID-19 on your business or your mental health, reach out for support. There is no shame in needing some extra encouragement or assistance during this time, and there are plenty of resources available to help you cope and navigate your unique circumstances.

Find an online counselor or a business coach that can help walk you through the reality of this pandemic and give you some tips on how to course correct your business to adjust to the ‘new normal’. Or, find a virtual assistant to help keep your admin tasks going while you rework your business strategy. If you’re unsure about reaching out right away, make sure you have the support of a close friend or family member. 

5. Don’t let your health insurance lapse.

While you’re likely looking for ways to save money for your business, it’s still very important to keep your health insurance in good standing during a global health crisis like COVID-19. Testing and treatment are typically covered by most health insurance plans.

If you don’t currently have coverage through an employer, look into self-employed health insurance options to make sure you’re covered.

6. Focus on marketing areas you didn’t have time for before.

There may be hidden opportunities in this time of change. You may have the chance to focus on building your business instead of doing your business. If you’re having to downshift your production or pause your client work, try re-allocating that time and those resources into learning or marketing your business in new ways.

Is there a course you’ve been wanting to take? Have you wanted to dive into your SEO strategy, but haven’t had the time? Is now the perfect opportunity to develop more content for your blog? Can you spend this time creating a content calendar for your social media platforms? The possibilities are endless! Just because “business as usual” isn’t always possible, that doesn’t mean you have to stop investing in your business.

7. Keep in touch with your customers; form a personal bond with them.

Finally, make sure your customers know that you are still there and thinking about how best to serve them. During a shutdown like COVID-19, business owners are not the only ones who are concerned about how the economy will carry on. You’ve likely built trust and relationships with your customers over the years, and now, they’ll be looking to you for reassurance.

Find new ways to connect with them and address their needs. Start focusing on your email list to stay in communication. Or, try offering free shipping or a new product that can help them get by until you’re able to work at full capacity again. If you have to shut down temporarily, make sure you are as transparent and caring as possible. No matter what you decide to do, just be sure to communicate clearly and compassionately with your followers. That will ensure you preserve their trust and that they’ll continue to support your business.

*James Donaldson is a health and wellness writer, avid traveler, and scuba diver. He studied health sciences at the University of Memphis and has since dedicated his work to helping others live long, healthy lives. When he is not traveling or writing, he spends most of his time at home with his dogs, Scout and Bear.