Don't try alone – support from well-being peer group
When we started the well-being workshops in the Entrefox project in autumn 2019, no one had any idea what kind of struggles entrepreneurs would face. The purpose of well-being workshops is to promote the well-being and coping of micro- and SME entrepreneurs over 55. The means for this include fitness tests, Firstbeat measurements and peer group gatherings.
The group meetings, which started well, hit a dead-end in the spring. At first, we postponed the next meeting a little further – hoping we could get back together in a month. However, it became clear that this will not be a few months of the state of emergency and then a return to ‘normal’.
Like many others, we quickly changed plans; we postponed the fitness tests to the future and started to hold peer group gatherings and coffee breaks through Zoom. And like many others, entrepreneurs over 55 bravely took a digital leap. Some attended the first remote meetings of their lives. The discussions showed that some entrepreneurs had experienced a complete stop in their business – there were no customers. Varying recommendations and people’s cautious behaviour sighed activity and a lot of important sales events, such as fairs, were cancelled. So now we had time to attend meetings and coffee moments together. During the sessions, entrepreneurs were allowed to share their news. Entrepreneurs had the opportunity to agonize over the bureaucracy of the forms of funding, encourage new business ideas, and share useful advice. Among other things, entrepreneurs highlighted various funding opportunities during the coronavirus period as a central topic of discussion.
There’s already light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations have started, and the dream of returning to normal is already on the minds of many. Unfortunately, no one can know what “normal” will be in the future. Finland’s economy seemed to have endured the state of emergency in the first year, but will misery strike with a delay? Have consumers’ habits changed permanently? Is there still a demand for the same products and services?
Research shows that companies that know how to adapt their business plan, allocate their resources correctly and receive support are best able to cope with a significant shock. Various funders have provided financial support for coping with the coronavirus crisis. However, more help would have been needed, for example, for how and where to find the right forms of financial aid for own business, to be able to apply for and to be able to report and use the aid correctly. Mental support has also become more critical, especially as the crisis drags on. Where does an entrepreneur over 55 find that new spark to start developing his or her business, acquiring new customers and lifting the whole of Finland again? Many group members have also said that they have considered or already moved on to paid jobs or are trying to make ends meet.
Work and uncertainty do lie ahead, but hopefully, entrepreneurs will receive support for their situation from different actors – it is needed now more than ever.
A new group will start working in well-being workshops in April. If you want to support the development of your well-being and work capacity, read more: