Being a woman entrepreneur can bring with it specific challenges, such as access to capital and opportunities for revenue growth. But when you add in any type of global economic crisis, the challenges all leaders face are often multiplied.
As the founder of a nonprofit online entrepreneurial community platform that helps support women business owners, I’ve learned that times of uncertainty often add new layers and barriers to navigate and address proactively as we continue to thrive and succeed. My company helps women grow their businesses, and through this experience, I’ve learned that while no one business is the same, all organizations can consider making some adjustments during a crisis.
1. Accept the new normal.
The sooner you accept the new challenges and parameters of competition, the better. Innovative new ideas, distribution models, development tools and employee management techniques can help your business weather a storm. I believe we can emerge just as healthy or even better once a crisis simmers down, but waiting for things to get back to “normal” or planning that everything will be the same could be a recipe for failure.
Instead, I encourage leaders to adapt to a “new normal.” From my perspective, doing this has a lot to do with the way we think and talk to ourselves. During a crisis, it might be easy to feel that the world is falling apart, but I’ve found that refocusing your energy and shifting your perspective to, “How can I make the best of this?” is key. Finding ways to bring positivity into a challenge makes it a bit easier to move forward.
2. Keep networking and collaborating with business owners.
I believe professionals and business owners can work together to identify and create new growth opportunities and well-paying jobs. By working together to grow women- and minority-owned businesses, we can make an impact on professionals seeking opportunities now, as well as for the next generation of entrepreneurs.
To get started, collaborate with a small group of supporters you feel you can be your authentic self with. Host video meetups, and start social media or online groups to create a platform for building these professional connections and offering support to your peers.
3. Consider using support programs available to you and your employees.
During times of uncertainty, leaders might find it more difficult to navigate funding challenges, such as securing investors and raising capital. To help with this, the U.S. government, Small Business Administration and local resources have put into place economic development, business loans and employee support programs to help businesses and employees in the event of an economic downturn. Consider leveraging these opportunities for your business during difficult times.
Keep in mind that some programs might involve taking on debt that must be paid back at some point. Evaluate whether those programs are a necessary and viable option for you and your business, as it might be challenging to take on debt depending on your situation.
Although it can be extremely difficult to navigate a crisis or economic downturn, I believe business owners can position themselves to survive and thrive in times of uncertainty.