Small Business Support Blog

If you are interested in reading about how to get your business visible online, with regular insights into being an entrepreneur and navigating your way through the business world, then this blog is for you!

We regularly post interesting articles on topics on leadership, management and visibility - with guest articles and features from experts in their field.

If you are interested in collaborating and would like to do a guest feature then please email [email protected] 

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  1. Female Entrepreneurs - Why we need to be more resilient than ever right now...

     female entrepreneur resilience

    A guest blog on being resilient during testing times from Shelley Bosworth, founder of Shelley Bosworth Coaching - life coach to the stressed out female leader looking for clarity and precision over priorities and unlocking that confident mindset.

     

    Life is full of ups and downs, we all know that, and never has that been more true, than right now.

    Although it may appear that many around us have got their s*** totally sorted if get too absorbed in Insta and FB, we also know deep down that’s not really true and that nobody is perfect, and nobody lives the perfect life!

    If you really want to be ok, in fact more than ok, then you have to learn to make the most of the ups, and try not to let the downs literally drag you down.  Our ability to bounce back, to step up after transition or a difficult situation is literally the tipping point between living an enjoyable and meaningful life or a troublesome and frustrating one. So, given all we are facing around us here and now, the tipping point of our lives for many, how do you respond? Now is when we are realising just how resilient we are?

    Resilience is simply the ability to readjust to a situation and move forward again.

    We are not born with resilience, but we can learn. We can do things and take actions consistently, to become more resilient and we will become better able to cope with life’s setbacks and we’ll almost definitely increase our confidence and self-belief along the way.

    Now you might be thinking, right now I just need to survive!

    Yes, you probably do … you need your business to survive, you need to come out the other side …. But to be ready for the other side you need to work on your resilience now. Or where will you be when we get through this? Because we will peeps we just don’t know when?

    Now is the time to show up for you...

    So how resilient are you in a crisis?

    Take a look at these five considerations to help you find clarity over your own resilience:

    1. Response & Reaction

    When something initially begins to trouble you, how do you respond?

    Are you a bury your head in the sand kinda gal, do you pretend it isn’t happening?

    Or do you tackle things head on and promptly? Do you assess the situation, consider solutions, choose a solution and get on with it?

    Resilient people will accept the situation and get problem solving.

    They’re the ones who have a new plan, a new idea … the bounce backers, the give it a goers …. The ones who take the approach there is always a solution we just don’t know what it is yet?

    Guess what the quicker you think of solutions the less stress and anxiety from thinking about the problem itself too.

    2. How do you think about past events?

    When it comes to what’s already happened you have a choice.

    You can try to forget, pretend it never happened, or you can take responsibility for a situation and think about the lessons you learn from it.

    Learning from our mistakes is one of the best ways to move forward. Learning from our mistakes helps us to avoid making the same mistakes again, but so much more important is allowing ourselves to recognise that things may not have been as bad as we thought, or even better that something actually went well  

    Trying to forget your past mistakes actually robs you of vital energy, it’s harder work than learning because you’re trying to tell your brain a lie – that it didn’t happen!

    Resilient people focus their energies on lessons and skills learned from past experiences whatever the experience was, try it!

    3. What’s your daily routine?

    Do you consider every day an opportunity to do something new, or do you find entire days go by where you are overcome by negativity and you achieve nothing of any note?

    This doesn’t have to be big! In fact, start small.

    If you achieve something every day that is important to you, whether that’s a phone call to a loved one or a little stretch in your workout, it’s about achieving something.

    Achieving something small but important EVERY day, will boost your self-esteem, and you will genuinely naturally over time become more resilient. 

    4. How is your support network?

    FACT: You will not succeed in this life alone.

    It’s a common myth that resilience is about being able to handle it all alone! WRONG!

    We were not meant to be alone.

    Do you have plenty of friends and family you can call on if you need something?

    Resilient people build a network around them, they know who to go to for what, they know they can turn to someone and they are not afraid to – that’s strength!

    WE need each other more than we ever have right now, communities are coming together, supporting one another, lifting each other up … are you?

    Now I should say here it’s important not to just burden friends and family with the crap bits, include them in the good stuff too! That’s how you build really supportive relationships

    5. Look after and love yourself

    I don’t mean let’s get all hippy! If any of you have ever met me, you will know I simply mean you have to look after yourself

    If you do not realise that you have to look after yourself in order to be able to look after anyone else, then start there

    Have you ever thought about how every time we fly (I know this may seem insensitive at the moments but one day we will all holiday again!!!) flight attendants inform us “Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.

    What about the children, what about the elderly bloke beside me who looks like he’ll struggle to reach? I’ve got to help others, I’ll never forgive myself if ….

    If what? You are no use to anyone if you are running on empty people

    We all need to look after ourselves, we need all our strength.

    When you take care of your own needs you will be more resilient when a challenge or crisis knocks on the door. Your health and well-being matters and if you get that right you will be able to handle and face hardship, be it emotional or physical

    It would be lovely to think that everything in life is plain sailing, but we know that’s not true! Everything cannot go right all of the time!

    And boy don’t we know that right now?

    Challenges will continue to come along, changes will happen, crisis will occur, if we are not resilient it will take us so much longer to come back from these tough times. 

    Being resilient will not remove the tough times, I know that! But it can reduce the damage the tough times cause and enable you to get back on your feet quicker

    What can you do today to help you become more resilient?

     

    Shelley Bosworth Coaching

     

    Shelley Bosworth is a qualified Life & Mindset Coach who supports female professionals and business owners, when life gets out of control and they need a guiding hand to put themselves back on their list

    She is straight talking, honest and fun and will help you challenge your own mindset to believe you CAN be, do or have anything you wish for.

  2. Press Pause. How to manage your stress levels with one VERY simple technique

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    A guest blog about techniques to help with managing stress as an entrepreneur by Brenda Ward, founder of Brenda Ward Yoga.

    Stress and multi-tasking

    Many of us who run our own business spend our entire day multi-tasking and we all know just how stressful this can be. The research bears this out showing that, on a continued basis, multi-tasking can release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which are implicated in a variety of nasty health problems. We begin to fatigue more easily, our blood pressure rises and we are more at risk of developing diabetes, ulcers, heart disease and a variety of mental health disorders. It’s obvious that we need to do something to deal with our stress but we don’t have time to fit yet another thing into our busy schedule. We can tell ourselves to relax but we are so wound up that we can’t. And a glass of wine at the end of the day is tempting but we know it’s a quick fix and not dealing with the underlying problem.

     

    Stress busting for entrepreneurs

     

    Time for the good news...

    But what if there was a way to reduce your stress levels without leaving your home or even your desk, something that was right under your nose? The good news is, there is. It’s called mindful breathing.

    Going from mind full to mindful

    Mindfulness is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. We hear it all the time but what does it actually mean? Well, at its most basic, mindfulness means to be present and in the moment, to be here right now. It’s a way of resting your mind in its natural state of calm and tranquility. With regular practice, it encourages an awareness that whatever else is going on in our life, at work, or in any stressful situation, that there is always a place of peace and calm within us.

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    Very simple breath-based mindfulness techniques help us to develop the skill of mindfulness and only take a few minutes’ practice a day to reap the rewards. The science backs this up and mindfulness is now being used to treat a wide range of stressrelated symptoms such as chronic anxiety, depression, anger, addiction, insomnia and OCD.

    The 10 big benefits of mindfulness

    • Effective way to deal with stress
    • Enables us to control negative thought patterns
    • Restores the mind to a calm and peaceful state
    • Lowers levels of anger
    • Helps treat addiction
    • Reduces levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
    • Helps foster a feeling of calm and improves mood
    • Teaches techniques to help with insomnia
    • Helps manage anxiety and panic attacks
    • Can help treat OCD and mild depression

    You don’t need to come to a yoga class to start practising mindfulness

    As a yoga teacher, I am passionate about using mindfulness as a tool to help people cope with the stresses of everyday life so, at the start of every one of my classes, I’ll introduce a simple breathbased technique to encourage this.

    But you don’t actually need to come to a yoga class to start.

    The following practice is one that you can do anytime, anywhere. And if you do it for just 5 minutes a day for the next 30 days, you will notice a difference in how you manage your stress.

    It really is that simple.

    A five-minute mindfulness practice

    Begin by finding a quiet place where you will be undisturbed, turn off your phone and take a moment to sit quietly. Rest your hands on your lap, bringing your right hand into your left palm with your thumb tips together. Make any little adjustments that you need to. Feel the connection between your feet and the ground beneath your feet.

    Now become aware of your breath. First notice the breath in your nostrils. Observe it with a light touch - don’t concentrate too hard - simply feel the breath coming in and flowing out. Notice that the air is cool as it comes into your body and a little warmer as it leaves your body. When your mind becomes distracted (it will!), just guide it gently back to your breath.

    If you struggle to stay focussed on your breath, hear your mind say the word “in” as you breathe in and the word “out” as you breathe out. Stay with this for a little while.

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    Next become aware of your abdomen and, again, become aware of your breath here. Notice your abdomen gently expanding as you breathe in and releasing back towards your spine as you breathe out. Again, when your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath.

    Eventually your mind will begin to settle quietly upon your breath.

    Finally, take your right hand and place it over your navel and your left hand over the centre of your chest. Press firmly. Notice the movement of your abdomen under your right hand and the movement of the chest under your left hand. This is called the anchoring breath and it can help us to manage anxiety and panic attacks. Stay with this for a couple of minutes before gently releasing.

    Another five minutes?!

    Just supposing that this feels really good and you can find just another five minutes to spare. Once you’ve practised mindful breathing, you are ready to try one of the most relaxing poses ever - the supported fish. I often add this to the end of my yoga classes and my students adore it. All you need is a mat (or thick blanket if you don’t have one) and a yoga block (or a padded cushion). It’s easy. Here’s how.

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    Simply place the block or support towards the top end of your mat, then lie down allowing your shoulders to drape over it (see photo). Take a few moments to get the block/cushion just right so that it’s really comfortable. If you have a back issue, you may prefer to bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, otherwise stretch out your legs and let your feet fall open. Now extend your arms out to the sides a little away from your body and turn over your palms so that they are facing the ceiling. Adjust your chin so that your neck feels very comfortable. Gently close your eyes. Relax your face, your chin and jaw and soften that little space between your eyebrows.

    As you breathe in, hear your mind say silently, “I am peaceful” and as you breathe out hear your mind say silently, “I am calm”.

    Stay here for at least 5 minutes.

    Supported fish pose comes from a group of practices that together make up a body of practices called restorative yoga. These poses gently reset your entire nervous system and offer your body and mind the opportunity to rest very deeply. Restorative yoga differs from other yoga practices you may be familiar with as it involves holding poses for longer. We also use lots of props such as blankets and pillows to support your muscles and bones and, into this mix, I like to add very soft lighting, gentle music and aromatherapy oils to promote complete physical and mental relaxation.

    Try to rest your body in the supported fish pose at least once a week. It’s perfect if you feel tired, stressed or are struggling with the menopause or sleep problems.

    If you have just another five minutes …

    ...Suppose you could eke another just another five minutes. Conscious resting or Savasana is an exercise that is unique to yoga and, in my mind, one of its biggest secrets. It is during this deep resting state that we learn how to simply “be”. Even the thought of that sounds good, doesn’t it? Studies have shown that Savasana offers many powerful benefits when practised regularly including reduced blood pressure and an enhanced immune function.

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    Even if you have never done yoga before, you can practise this pose.

    Here’s how. As before, find a comfortable and warm space where you will be undisturbed. Switch off your phone and lie down on a yoga mat or thick towel or blanket. Stretch out and adjust your legs so that they are comfortably wide apart. Allow your little toes to flop out to the sides (again, if you have a back issue, you may be more comfortable with the knees bent and the feet on the floor). Feel your hips gently ease open. Now extend your arms out to the sides a little away from your body and turn over your palms so that they are facing the ceiling. Adjust your chin so that the neck feels very comfortable. Gently close your eyes. Relax your face, chin and jaw and, again, soften that little space between your eyebrows.

    Invite your body to be very still and peaceful.

    Then take your awareness to the breath in your abdomen. Observe how your abdomen gently rises and falls with the breath. Observe your abdomen rising on the in-breath and falling on the out-breath. When your mind begins to move away from the breath, guide it gently back.

    Now imagine that you are lying on a soft velvet cushion and each time you breathe out, feel your body sinking a little deeper into that cushion. Feel that each out -breath softens your body and lets you sink deeper and deeper into that soft velvet cushion. Stay with this very peaceful awareness for a few minutes.

    When you are ready, allow this image to float away gently. Begin to deepen your breathing and gently move your body. Have a lovely long stretch or yawn and then gently roll onto your side. Come up to sitting when you are ready.

    Practise Savasana often. It is a powerful antidote to stress.

    And finally

    If thinking about doing any of the above makes you feel stressed out, don’t think about it! Just do any of the suggested practices when you can and let the benefits that arise from their practice be your guide. Over time, you will find that you actually begin to look forward to those precious five, ten or fifteen minutes, which, rather than being yet another thing to add to your busy schedule, will instead create time, space and a sense of peace in your day.

    About Me

    Hi I’m Brenda and I qualified with the British Wheel of Yoga in 2004. I’ve now been teaching yoga, mindfulness and meditation for over 16 years having discovered yoga in my late 20s as a way of helping me to manage, and then heal, a chronic back problem. I had originally qualified as a solicitor but, after this experience, I gave up the Law to try to help others in the way that I had been helped.

    Over the course of my teaching career, I have welcomed a huge range of ages and abilities into my classes. In addition to my general classes, I also run fabulous retreats on the Amalfi Coast, children’s yoga and mindfulness classes, and regular workshops at historic Lytham Hall. More recently, I have also started running a foundation course in yoga for those who want to deepen their understanding and knowledge of the practice and/or are thinking about teaching themselves.

    I am happy to teach yoga and the techniques of mindfulness on either a one-on-one basis or in a small private or corporate group. Please contact me on 07714 419785, via email on [email protected] or my website at brendayoga.co.uk for further details on any of the above.