Business resilience and taking care of yourself

3 min read

Self-care, it would seem, has a lot to do with the nature of business resilience.

Resilience is a vital trait that business leaders covet. It’s an important requirement for keeping their keel steady when navigating waters that are often treacherous.

Small business difficulty and possible failure is real. As we’ve learnt the hard way through the COVID-19 pandemic, the weapon we have to combat economic uncertainty and business restrictions is resilience.

So, what does taking care of yourself have to do with it? A lot.

Reckon’s research into business resilience

We recently commissioned a wide-ranging study of Australian small business leaders to investigate resilience in our business community and what we can learn from it. We conducted this research in partnership with Australian research agency Lonergan.

The aim?

“This study aimed to explore Australian Small Business Leaders’ attitudes, behaviours and perceptions regarding resilience,” Lonergan.

Using the Brief Resilience Scale for measurement, the study comprised of 514 Small Business Leaders and 505 general population Australians over the age of 18.

What is resilience?

The ability to overcome adversity intact is at the heart of resilience. In a world rocked by a global pandemic, resilience is more important than ever.

To find out what it really means for business people, we turned to the stories of Australia’s small business leaders and owners.

“For me, resilience is the ability to bounce back. Whatever is thrown at you, you just pick yourself up and try to find ways to soldier on,” Christine David, founder of IT 4 Retirees.

Or perhaps,

“Resilience is about managing what’s in front of you and knowing that eventually something like this [COVID-19] can actually create something beautiful,” Ryan Deale, founder of Get First Aid.

Taking care of yourself is crucial to staying resilient

During our research we asked respondents to rate the ‘crucial aspects’ of resilience.

We found that 78% of small business leaders believe that taking care of yourself is crucial to maintaining resilience to business adversity.

The definition we used for ‘taking care of yourself’ included eating and sleeping well.

This was by far the top response. Coming in second was ‘using tools and resources to stay organised and in control’, with 58% of business leaders taking this view.

So, in a time of uncertainty when the need for resilience is at its peak, the message is clear that taking care of yourself mentally and physically is paramount in your ability to overcome and bounce back.

In fact, it comes in ahead of other factors like organisational tools and friends and family.

Sole traders in particular

Perhaps unsurprisingly, sole traders are the most likely small business leaders to believe taking care of yourself is a crucial way to stay resilient. In fact, 81% of sole trader respondents took this view.

With a basis of self-reliance in the sole trader community, it’s no surprise the vast majority see taking care of yourself as one of the primary keys (if not the primary key) to resilience.

Symptoms of low resilience

To backup this view, we looked to a contrasting question – which factors had an adverse effect on resilience?

In our research, we specifically asked our study group of over 1,000 respondents what they saw as the symptoms of low resilience.

Low mood/ depression

In our top response, we found that 7/10 small business leaders believed low mood/depression were the most common symptoms of low resilience.

Poor Sleep

Coming in second, we found that 61% of small business leaders believe that poor sleep was associated with low resilience.

Poor mental acuity

In third place, we found that 56% of small business leaders found that poor mental acuity, the sharpness or keenness of thought, was a related symptom of lowered resilience.

Keep yourself in check to maintain resilience

The outcomes are rather clear and the lessons are equally as crystalline.

Taking care of yourself by eating right, sleeping well, being mindful of depression and understanding your own mental and physical wellbeing is one of the key deciding factors in whether or not you are resilient.

It may be the most important factor of all, so ensure you truly take care of yourself so your business has the best chance of sustained success.

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