Dealing with uncertainty – tips for business owners

Aug 12, 2020 | Business, COVID-19, Planning, Small businesses

2020 has brought nothing but uncertainty to every business owner out there.. And it is far from over. Whether you are back to “business as usual” or you are still under some kind of trading restrictions due to COVID-19, there is lots of uncertainty for companies. We are facing some challenging times and knowing what your next steps are is the key worry. We understand that your business is not just a source of income – you put a lot of effort, time and money into it everyday. 

So, how do you get a bit more clarity around your business and its future plans? And how do you learn to focus on short-term survival when your sales, income and cash are not stable? This article will outline some of the best tips on how to deal with uncertainty: 

Put your focus on the right things

Instead of drowning yourself in a sea of things you don’t know, try to focus on things that you actually know. When there’s so much confusion around, it may all start feeling like one big blur, but it’s not always the case. It is important to learn how to rationalise your uncertainty and outline what exactly you know, you don’t know and you need to know. This way you will be able to tackle each of these things individually rather than seeing it as a one big negative. 

Additionally, you need to learn how to accept the situation and focus on things you can actually control. Coronavirus has significantly impacted many businesses around the UK, but not a single one of them could have done anything differently to help the situation. You need to accept that not everything is in your control and then shift your attention to things that are. The golden rule is to find the middle ground between what is controllable and what matters. For instance, many restaurants had to shut down during the lockdown, which they couldn’t control. Instead, they started offering more takeaway options helping them survive, as they could still do that. 

One thing at a time

Worrying about everything at once has never done any good to anyone. It may be difficult with many worries on your mind, but try not to overwhelm yourself with too many tasks in one day. It is impossible to do everything and the stress of it will likely just make you less productive. Try and break your daily tasks into smaller ones and give yourself enough time for each of them. Here’s some examples of broken down tasks you can focus on: 

  • Reviewing your overheads and costs – This is a big task and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Spend a day reviewing your books, see if there’s unnecessary expenses that could be cut down to help your cash flow. See if you could negotiate better terms with your suppliers and so on.
  • Talk to your debtors and creditors – Getting back some old debts could be very helpful for your financial health. Talk to your late-paying customers and see if you can agree on a specific day they will pay you. Also talk to your suppliers about potentially extending your own payment periods.
  • Consider changes in your business model – This is definitely something you should spend some time on, but you may be able to come up with ways to help your business. If your current business model is not working well due to some COVID-19 restrictions, see if you can find alternative revenue streams. Make the necessary changes to survive these strange times.
  • Update your marketing strategy – There may be some changes you can make to your online presence, including your website and social media activities. With the changed situation, you want to focus on marketing more than ever and perhaps try to reach some new audiences. This is definitely something to spend a day thinking about and planning. 


Mental wellbeing 

Feeling uncertain about your business is one of the most stressful things that can happen. This is completely normal, as you are worrying about losing something that you worked hard on, as well as your main source of income..

However, you need to not let it get to you. Experiencing too much stress and anxiety will only further damage your business, as you will become unable to make rational decisions or feel too low to be productive and focus on what really matters. Introduce some common wellbeing practices into your routine, such as daily meditation or yoga. This will help you clear out your mind from negative thoughts and help you get more focused. 

Allow yourself to get help

Sometimes we get too overwhelmed with our problems and we need someone to look at them with a new, fresh perspective. This can be very helpful, as someone else’s ideas and opinions could help you find some meaningful answers – those that were under your nose the whole time but you were too stressed to see them. So, don’t feel bad if you need a bit of external help with your business – you don’t get extra points for making all of your business decisions on your own. 

Get in touch…

If you do feel like getting some external advice about your business could help you feel more certain in your future, we are here to help.. At ASfB we have a friendly team of professionals who will review your business plan or financial situation and advise you on the best steps to take. We tailor our advice specifically to your individual needs and wants.  

Call us for an informal chat on 01202 755600 or drop an email to