Over the past few weeks, the team at Company Capital has communicated with many of our friends and customers across Canada, and we empathize with what you are all experiencing — we are a small business too. In Canada, while some essential services continue to operate at reduced levels, most of us in the small business community have suddenly forced to confront extreme business conditions, literally overnight.
At Company Capital our mission is to provide short term-financing to small and medium size businesses in a way that meets the unique needs of your business. But, ultimately, the mission of Company Capital is about providing support to entrepreneurs and to help identify a path forward during challenging times.
And, during social distancing, lockdowns and the isolation of COVID-19, Company Capital will continue to do just that. In order to help business owners navigate through this unprecedented time both personally and professionally, our team would like to share some tips and resources that have helped us.
Practical Tips for Strengthening Your Resolve
The current economic crisis is certainly putting our determination to the test. On that note, we would like to share a few practical tips for reducing uncertainty and help strengthen your resolve as entrepreneurs.
1) Seek information from trusted sources
In a rapidly changing health and economic environment, be sure to access to correct and up-to-date information. Keep in mind that federal and provincial assistance programs for small businesses are hosted on official websites, which are the best sources of information. Industry associations will also provide accurate information:
- Government of Canada support for small business (link)
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business (link)
More than ever, small businesses must be aware of fraudsters who find their way to your email, phone and websites, claiming to have solutions. There is a variety of trustworthy online resources for spotting and reporting fraud:
- Competition Bureau of Canada (link)
- Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (link)
- Canadian Marketing Association (link)
Finally, since new information about COVID-19 can change on an almost daily basis, keep informed by checking official and verifiable sources for updates:
2) Be sure to take care of “me first”
Yes, it’s the same instruction you hear in every airplane safety demonstration that you must sit through before take-off. However, the reality is your business needs your clear mind and your healthy, strong body more than ever right now.
Even in the best of times, it’s not unusual for a business owner or even a C-Suite executive to experience mental illness. Denis Trottier, a successful KPMG executive, has discussed at length about his experience living with clinical depression. Trottier is now KPMG’s first-ever Chief Mental Health Officer, and is a key voice in the effort to boost mental health supports for employees amid coronavirus pandemic.
While the environment for entrepreneurs is challenging right now, there are proactive steps small business owners can take to maintain their mental health. For example, the team at Company Capital has committed to following our own program while we work from home, separated, for the time being, from our regular office and life routines.
We call it the ME FIRST model: “Mental health”, “Exercise”, “Feed yourself good food”, “Inspiration”, “Routine”, “Self-development”, and “Taking time out”.
Here are some ME FIRST pointers:
Not intended to be a resource for people who require screening for COVID-19 or are experiencing a mental health crisis, the Canadian Centre for Additions and Mental Health (CAMH) provides resources for mental health during COVID-19.
The Canadian Psychological Association provides a useful guide for the benefits of exercise and mental health.
Feed yourself good food
What people eat has a direct relationship to their mood and how they function. Benefits Canada, an association of insurers, explains the role of nutrition in improving mental health.
“Inspiration can be activated, captured, and manipulated, and it has a major effect on important life outcomes” and also increases well-being, according to Harvard Business Review.
It’s recognized that setting routines is key to managing mental health during COVID-19.
Examine how your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic can be used for greater self-knowledge and better decisions going forward.
Take time out (from all the chaos and bad news)
There is a lot of bad news these days, and there always seems to be more on the way. It’s easy to get caught up in everything that’s happening, which, ultimately, can affect your mental health. So, quarantine that stress, and limit screen time during coronavirus outbreak. Instead, focus on some of the other ME FIRST tactics listed above!
Bonus ME FIRST activities: Look for New Opportunities
We all may need to get more comfortable with uncertainty as we attempt to restart or grow our businesses. By being ready to swap old offerings for new ones we can build resilience to inevitable changes in the business environment. So, stay on the lookout for opportunities and innovative ways to be ahead of the curve.
Some ways to identify new opportunities include:
- Invite ideas from your staff, colleagues and get connected with community business forums
- Further develop your skills and those of your staff
- Build on your network of potential customers and look for new ways to generate leads
- Take every opportunity to promote communication with your customer audience about what your business is doing
Finally, work on your business and plan for success – there are many free productivity tools and resources all over the internet, from learning how to connect with Zoom and Basecamp, to connecting with alternative supply chains and services.
Let Us Know How You’re Doing!
We wish we could tell you what happens next, but the Company Capital team is also manoeuvring through this unprecedented time ourselves. What we can say is that we are taking our own advice and doing everything we can to find ways to keep supporting our clients with their financing needs.
As well, we would love to hear from you! If you have a few words of advice, ideas, or comments that may be of assistance or encouragement to others please share your stories here.
Thank you again for your confidence in our service.